AquaMaps are computer-generated maps that show large-scale predictions of where a marine species may occur. These maps are generated using known occurrences of a species and its environmental preference with respect to depth, salinity, temperature, primary production and its association to land and in some cases, sea ice. The AquaMaps project website ( provides a comprehensive description of its purpose and services.

The VRE implementation of AquaMaps utilizes the powerful grid services and VRE facilities of the D4Science infrastructure to better manage the complex processes involved in producing AquaMaps. The AquaMaps VRE exploits data from multiple sources (e.g. GENESI-DR, GBIF and OBIS)some of which are made available through the infrastructure, makes use of the computational capacity of the grid to generate distribution maps in shorter time, and utilizes available VRE services (e.g. GeoServer).

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The Map Generation portlet within the AquaMaps VRE allows authorized experts (who are familiar with the known distribution of a given species) to access the data behind the standard computer -generated maps and use their expertise to correct errors and improve on the default predictions.   

The D4Science-II-enabled interoperability makes it easier for clients to benefit from the collections of maps and the underlying data generated in the AquaMaps VRE. Available services for example not only provide fisheries scientists and policy advisers access to the maps and its underlying data but also allows them to modify the maps (i.e. its scale, size, colour etc.) such that it may be used in reports and publications.

D4Science-II offers: Access to resources that increase process capacity, integration with data and services from other VREs, seamless access to VREs to import and process data, geospatial processing capability on the grid using e.g. GeoServer, multiple earth observation data sources, and other specialized tools.

The growing user base for AquaMaps also requires advanced reporting functions to enrich the VRE with standardized reports on e.g. the review of each individual product.

The current AquaMaps VRE collections were generated by using species occurrence data of more than 9000 species and generating spatially-explicit predictions of relative probability of occurrence. From this original data source five collections have been generated by filtering, grouping and rendering these data:

  • ‘Species Maps’ consisting of 9037 objects,
  • ‘Family Maps’ consisting of 715 objects
  • ‘Order Maps’ consisting of 132 objects,
  • ‘Class Maps’ consisting of 42 objects and
  • ‘Phylum Maps’ consisting of 13 objects.

Each collection object contains a number of images, showing maps in different pre-defined projections (a 2D map of the Earth plus two 3D views of the Poles, 3D views of the 6 Continents, and six 3D views of the Oceans) and descriptive metadata.
D4Science developed the AquaMaps VRE with the following objectives:

  • Access to increased computing power to reduce map production time
  • Improve the quality of AquaMaps products by providing access to tools that enable experts to review computer-generated maps
  • Access to other VREs which may provide data and services that may be utilized by the AquaMaps VRE
  • Promote the distribution and use of AquaMaps products by delivering interoperable services and by providing easy access to maps and data


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