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Semi-automated mapping of rock in the Irish Sea, Minches, western Scotland and Scottish continental shelf 2017


This report describes the results from a semi-automated approach to the mapping of bedrock outcropping at the seabed, applied to Charting Progress 2 regions 5 (Irish Sea), 6 (Minches and Western Scotland) and 7 (Scottish Continental Shelf).


This represents the third phase of this work, following development and initial application of the approach in the Eastern Channel (CP2 region 3) and Western Channel and Celtic Sea (CP2 region 4) (Diesing et al 2015), Southern North Sea and Northern North Sea (Downie et al 2016).

The method consisted of two elements, namely:

  1. the automated spatial prediction of the presence and absence of rock at the seabed using a random forest ensemble model, and;

  2. manual editing of the model outputs based on ancillary geological data and expert knowledge.

The final output gives a significantly improved representation of the presence of bedrock at the seabed in CP2 regions 5, 6 and 7, and, in combination with the outputs of Diesing et al (2015) and Downie et al (2016), gives a complete representation for the UK continental shelf.

Resource type Publication

Topic category Environment

Reference date 2017·12·11

Brown, L.S., Green, S.L., Stewart, H.A., Diesing, M., Downie, A.-L., Cooper, R. & Lillis, H., (2017), Semi-automated mapping of rock in the Irish Sea, Minches, western Scotland and Scottish continental shelf, JNCC Report No. 609, JNCC, Peterborough, ISSN 0963-8091.

In preparation for the first stage of the Marine Conservation Zones project, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs commissioned a contract to produce a UK-wide data layer showing areas of rock and hard substrate at or near the seabed surface.

Responsible organisation
Digital and Data Solutions, JNCC publisher

Limitations on public access No limitations

Use constraints Available under the Open Government Licence 3.0

Metadata date 2019·07·08

Metadata point of contact
Digital and Data Solutions, JNCC

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