Azorean Coastal Zones Artificialization Inventory

Project: Azorean Coastal Zones Artificialization Inventory


Duration: 22 months


Contracting entity: Regional Directorate for Sea Affairs / Regional Secretariat for the Sea, Science and Technology


Framework: The objective of this project is the creation of a georeferenced inventory of the structures built on the Autonomous Region of the Azores coast that allows (i) the cartographic representation of the building property, which can back up the establishment of an Azorean coast artificialization index.

This initiative is related, on one hand, with the Regional Directorate for Sea Affairs (DRAM) competences in the coastal management and, on the other, with the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (DQEM), whose implementation is attributed to this Regional Directorate (LD n.º 201/2012).

Specifically, this project will allow the Region to reply DQEM’s Descriptor 7, which establishes that “the permanent transformation of the hydrographic conditions doesn’t significantly influence the marine ecosystems”. In this context, it’s considered that coastal zones artificialization may indeed influence the hydrographic conditions permanently (i.e., tidal regime, sediment and sweet water transportation, current and wave regime) and thus the physical and chemical features of the area with potential to affect the environmental state of the marine ecosystems.

Thereby, Descriptor 7 first criterion implies a “Permanent spatial transformations profiling” through the “Zone extension affected by permanent transformations (7.1.1)” indicator. This is considered the ground information needed to reply to the next criterion of the same Descriptor, which pretends to determine the “Permanent hydrographic transformations impact” through the following indicators: “Habitat spatial extension affected by permanent transformation (7.2.1) and “Habitat transformations, specially functions-related (for instance, fish, birds and mammals spawning, reproduction, feeding and migration zones), due to hydrographic conditions transformation (7.2.2)”.


Main goals: This project intends to publish and make available updated information to support and ease the decision-making about:

• The coastal zone and Public Maritime Domain integrated management performed by the competent authorities;

• The coastal zone maritime space planning;

• The need to apply measures in order to mitigate possible marine adverse effects in the marine ecosystems due to the coastal zones artificialization, accordingly to DQEM and Water Framework Directive (DQA);

• The archipelago coastal zone risk management, specifically the ones related to erosion and land use.


Specific goals: Considering the scope of this project, the object of study and the territory, the specific goals are:

Compile and produce geographic information about artificial structures and/or human interventions in Azores islands coastal zones, based on dedicated geographic data;

• Create a dynamic computational platform prepared for cartographic production and compiled information analysis;

• Input the information in the SIGMAR Azores platform.


Expected results: This project’s final result will be a geographic database (for each island coastal area), formed by several feature classes (geographic information repository with specific geometry and description associated), with decoupled subjects and enabled of being introduced in a single document for overlapping purposes. Each feature class will also have associated metadata, as well as a coordinate’s system transversal to the entire database.

The geographic database must be open-access and enabled to receive constant updates, allowing, since its creation, a permanent dated event registration (rebuildings, licensing, natural disasters, among others), in order to support the decision-making about the actions to perform on the coastal zones.