Continental Shelf Programme

Access to data

The primary goal of the OSDS is to facilitate access to marine geoscientific data for states working to establishing the outer limits of their continental shelf according to the provisions of Article 76 of UNCLOS. Access to geospatial information and metadata is available to all users via the online data inventory tool. The OSDS can facilitate access to actual data only for a state (or entities officially working on behalf of a state) involved in continental shelf delineation work. The primary focus is on supporting developing states and small island developing States (SIDS). Some data restrictions exist based on the requirements of our data partners.

  1. A brief, official letter from the responsible government office, ministry or department needs to be forwarded to the Continental Shelf Programme (electronic version and hardcopy)
  2. The letter should explain the role of the sender: be it the official governmental department assigned UNCLOS responsibility, or the chair of the committee assigned by the government to carry out work on these issues. It should also indicate who our main point of contact for future correspondence will be if this is not the sender.
  3. If you work with an external consultant and you want us to provide data on your behalf to that consultant please indicate this in the letter.
  4. The correspondence should go on to identify the area of interest using geographical coordinates.
  5. The desired file format of the requested data should be indicated; we make every effort to provide data in the preferred format of the end user.
  6. A typical data compilation includes geospatial information and metadata and any actual data (e.g. seismic profiles and bathymetric surveys) provided by our data partners in their original format. Additional work, for example georeferencing of seismic profiles, would need to be discussed.
You may wish to look at our data inventory map tool on our website  to see what data we would initially include in a project delivered from the OSDS. Alternatively, you can also access the data inventory using Google Earth. KMZ files are available here:

Also ECS Shapefiles are available for download:

We look forward to receiving a formal request from your country and to our future collaboration.