Cromarty Snow

1. Data Sources


Spatial Data Sources relevant to The Scottish Fisheries Sector

The information below has in some cases been copied directly from the respective websites for the purpose of maintaining accuracy.  The SFCC have presented each data source impartially with the view to encouraging prospective users to seek further information. While The SFCC will endeavour to maintain an updated version of this list, data custodians are encouraged to contact the SFCC with any ammendments or updates as they arise.

General Mapping

Environmental Information Data Centre – Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH)

The Environmental Information Data Centre (EIDC) coordinates CEH data activities and is the NERC Data Centre for the Terrestrial and Freshwater Sciences.  The EIDC brings together wide-ranging nationally-important datasets and expertise in managing different types of environmental data. The aim of the EIDC is to give researchers access to the coordinated data resources and informatics tools needed to find answers to complex, multidisciplinary environmental questions. Note that these are often commercial datasets that will draw a significant licencing fee. The SFCC together with Marine Scotland Science purchase the 1:50,000 Digital River Network on an annual basis for provision to members.


In 2016 CEH launched the Environmental Information Platform, containing applications including data browser, CHESS Explorer, UK Lakes Portal, Land Cover Mapping, Drought portal, Ecological Status Viewer and UK Rainfall. This platform can be accessed here:


In March 2015 CEH have made the Digital Rivers Network (supplied in full to SFCC members under license No. 405) available to stream as a Web Map Service (WMS). This means that the river network can be viewed in your desktop application using the following link:




Free online data services can be accessed directly from your desktop ArcGIS software by clicking Add Data, Add Data From ArcGIS Online. Here you can stream data such as Geology or the UK or riparian shade data from The Rivers Trust.

Ordnance Survey OpenData Download

OS OpenData™ offers a wide range of UK-wide digital map products which you can freely view or download, for use in both personal and commercial applications. There are currently 18 quality assured, continuously updated products including the OS Open Rivers dataset released in March 2015. OS OpenData can be used with other open datasets available on and from other sources to enhance your existing data or applications.



Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC)

JNCC collates designated nature conservation data from the UK devolved governments and is responsible for information on sites beyond 12 nautical miles from the coast. Datasets including bathymetry, seabird colony, and river macrophytes can be accessed here:

Natural Spaces – Scottish Natural Heritage

Natural Spaces provides an online data download facility giving access to a wide range of datasets including protected areas, habitats and species, landscape, open space and access. You need to register for an SNH account to access the data. Natural Spaces also includes downloadable terrestrial windfarms data. In 2016 a new downloadable landcover map was released called EUNIS.


You can also create a direct connection to the OGC Web Map Services from within your desktop GIS application using the following links:


SNH Administrative Units View Service:

SNH Landscape and Green Space WMS:

SNH Habitats and Species WMS:

SNH Renewables WMS:

SNH Protected Sites WMS:

Marine Scotland Web Map Service:


Scottish Government Spatial Data File Download

Download page for a variety of Scottish Government datasets, including a number of administrative boundaries (e.g. National Parks, Agricultural Area Office Boundaries, etc.), designations (e.g. Nitrate Vulnerable Zones, Marine Planning Zones, Designated Bathing Waters, etc.) and environmental areas (e.g. Salmon Fishery Districts, Environmentally Sensitive Areas, etc.).


The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA)

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) is Scotland’s environmental regulator. SEPA holds a large range of data arising from its monitoring of the environment as well as operator returned data. SEPA also host ‘Scotland’s Environment’ website (SEWeb), an enormous collaborative web application with much useful public-sector information relating to the environment which can be viewed and interacted with. With particular relevance to the Scottish Fisheries Sector, for example SEWeb hosts information on River Basin Planning and an interactive application on water body classification.


The SEWeb hydrography web map service provides map based layers including Water Body Classification, Obstacles to Fish Passage including salmon access (ROSS_CODE), WFD River Basin Districts, and WFD Sub Units.




The National Biodiversity Network's (NBN) Gateway

The National Biodiversity Network (UK) (NBN) is a collaborative venture in the United Kingdom committed to making biodiversity information available through various media, including on the internet via the NBN Gateway, the data search web site of the NBN. You can use it to explore and download UK biodiversity data, as contributed by participating data providers.


Marine & Aquaculture

ICES Data Portals

Marine and oceanographic data portals allowing you to view and/or download datasets in a variety of ways through login access.

Marine Scotland Science – Scottish Government

MSS undertakes research and provides scientific and technical advice on a number of marine and fisheries issues including aquaculture and fish health, freshwater fisheries, sea fisheries and the marine ecosystem.  Marine Scotland supports two publicly available web portals with a mix of downloadable datasets and data which can be added as Web Map Service (WMS) layers. National Marine Plan interactive (NMPi) (now also referred to as the Marine Scotland Web Map) includes Marine Atlas layers, marine renewables, seals and active marine fish farm sites. Marine Scotland interactive (MSi) has downloadable marine environment data in a number of different formats. Both portals can be accessed at


In May 2016 a number of arial imagery and basemap layers were added to the web map including detailed imagery data for Scotland which is free to view.


 Information on how to add WMS layers from NMPi is at:

Scotland’s Aquaculture

This website is designed to give a single point of access to aquaculture information held by the main regulators of the Scottish aquaculture industry. Information can be found by looking at the interactive map or by searching through the data.

The Crown Estate – Coastal

The Crown Estate’s coastal portfolio comprises foreshore and seabed data throughout the UK through where they have interests in ports, harbours, leisure-boating and aquaculture facilities. They also own three marinas and issue licences or leases for aquaculture sites. Their main datasets, the ‘All offshore activity (UK) shapefiles’ are available for download at the following link:

The Marine Environmental Data and Information Network (MEDIN)

Discover marine datasets and commonly required marine reference layers by searching individual metadata records on the data discovery portal or selecting by theme on the reference layers web pages. MEDIN has created a useful guide to help in your search. The data discovery portal is a metadata discovery service providing users with a single point of access to individual metadata records submitted to the portal by the Data Archive Centres and other public and private sector bodies. GIS Reference Layers can also be downloaded.


Land Use


Part of Edinburgh University, EDINA delivers online services and tools to benefit students, teachers and researchers in the UK Higher and Further Education Sector and beyond. Services include Agricultural Census and numerous others including the Scottish Spatial Data Infrastructure Metadata Catalogue, but not all data is available to non-academic users. If you are not associated with an academic institution then advantageous rates are available for this data.

The European Soil Portal / European Soil Data Centre

This European Soil Portal is an integral part of the European Soil Data Centre, which is one of the ten environmental data centres in Europe and is the focal point for soil data at European level. This European Soil Portal contributes to a thematic data infrastructure for soils in Europe. It presents data and information regarding soils at European level. Gridded data on soil type and soil threats are made freely available for download along with layer files storing colour-scheme information and huge amounts of metadata.


Scotland’s Soils

Launched in December 2013, this website aims to make scientifically robust soils information and data more accessible, both to help decision-makers and to increase public understanding of soils. It is the result of a project funded by the Scottish Government in partnership with SEPA, SNH and Forestry Commission Scotland. As well as presenting key facts on Scotland's soils, their functions and the pressures they face, the website includes interactive maps and datasets which you can download for use in your own spread sheets or analysis software – these are free of charge for non-commercial users.

The Forestry Commission

The Forestry Commission's data download pages allow you to access and download a wide range of Forestry Commission GIS datasets. You will be asked to accept the Forestry Commission's terms of use before you can proceed to the download pages. Datasets include: National Forest Inventory, National Forest Estate Boundaries, Stock and Roads, Grants and Regulations data, Felling Licences, Scottish Native Woodlands, Plant health. There is also information on how to access Forestry Commission spatial data via Web Map Services. To access these you must be registered and accept the terms of use.

The James Hutton Institute (the Macaulay Land Use Research Institute & SCRI)

The James Hutton Institute makes a wide array of very useful digital datasets available through their Macaulay Scientific Consulting webpage. Key datasets include land-cover, soils and climate datasets for Scotland, but some datasets attract a fee (typically per km2).


The SCIMAP Sediment Risk Mapping Tool – University of Durham

SCIMAP is an open source diffuse pollution risk modelling package from Durham University. The Fine Sediment model is used to identify sediment erosion risk in catchments and it is hoped that it will be used to help decision-makers, including governments, non-governmental organisations, land owners etc. to work out where to prioritise activities that protect the water environment, and so make our water clean again.


Other Sources


The Government is releasing public data to help people understand how government works and how policies are made. Some of this data is already available, but brings it together in one searchable website. Making this data easily available means it will be easier for people to make decisions and suggestions about government policies based on detailed information. Despite what they say, there is very little data on here, but it does list what is available and how to get it so does have some use.

Historic Scotland

The Historic Scotland Data Services website is a resource that provides information across a variety of sources, including access to our database of Scheduled Monuments and repository of GIS datasets. Download designation spatial datasets for GIS use, including shapefiles for Properties In-Care, Listed Buildings, Scheduled Monuments and more.


Nomis is a web-based database of labour market statistics run by the University of Durham on behalf of the Office for National Statistics. First launched in 1981, Nomis houses an extensive range of government statistical information on the UK labour market including Employment, Unemployment, Earnings, Labour Force Survey and Jobcentre Plus vacancies. This data can be downloaded and mapped using the Boundary Line datasets in OS OpenData and the Census Output Areas datasets from the Office for National Statistics (below).


Office for National Statistics

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) maintains digital boundaries for a range of geographies to support the production of statistics. Boundaries may be downloaded free of charge. Alternatively, please complete a boundary request form from the Downloads section and email it to ONS Geography. A charge of £50 + VAT will be made per CD/DVD in-line with ONS charging policy.


With reference to todays discussions, if you are after info on lochs such as areas or ID numbers, last week I added some functionality to the SFCC web map here: If you turn on the Scottish lochs layer, then zoom to your region and click on a Loch it will show Area, name and waterbody ID.

Another option from SEPA:

The water body ID, river name and catchment can all be found at (1)  Zoom to the area of interest then click on ‘Table of Contents (Show…) menu on left. (2) Click on the cross to expand the ‘2008 classification status’ menu, and tick ‘River’.  The river should appear on the map as a line. (3) At the top of the map there are some icons for zoom etc, one of which is an ‘i’ – click on this. (4) Then click on the river line shown on the map. A popup box will appear. Click on the + sign next to the text underneath the ‘River Water Bodies’ option. This will show the river name, water body id and a link to a classification data sheet. (5) Click on the datasheet link to find out what catchment it’s in and other information. 


Another new option from CEH: UK Lakes Portal



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Scottish Fisheries Co-Ordination Centre (SFCC), Marine Scotland Freshwater Laroratory, Faskally, Pitlochry, Perthshire PH16 5LB

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