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CDDA data collection 2016

Released on 2015-12-15 by: Marek Staron

To: EIONET PCPs and NRCs for Biodiversity data and information

Cc: Eionet National Focal Points

From: Mette Lund and Marek Staron, EEA

Dear Colleague,

Deadline for the CDDA deliveries is 15 March 2016

We are writing to inform you of the detailed plans for the CDDA annual data collection that is, as you will know, one of the agreed EIONET Priority data flows. We hope that this letter will be useful as you organise a programme of work with your network in order to validate the existing data published by EEA and to provide any new information available by the deadline for deliveries 15 March 2016.

Pre-loaded template files

Data packages with pre-loaded template files are uploaded in draft envelopes on the CDR

As in previous years, also for this data collection the EEA has prepared a data package with pre-loaded template files and additional documents has been prepared for each country. The package contains:

  • CDDA-***-<date of creation>.mdb - Template database pre-loaded with the latest national tabular data provided by you in the structure defined by the CDDA Data Dictionary.
  • CDDA_*** - CDDA site boundaries made from the latest national spatial data provided by you.
  • CDDA 2015 GIS QA.pdf - Report on the results of the analysis of the latest CDDA boundaries data, provided by you, performed by the ETC/BD.
  • CDDA Spatial data specification v1.pdf - New specification regarding the preparation and delivery of spatial data for the CDDA.
  • CDDA SiteCode allocation User Guide v02.pdf - A detailed user guide document on use of the Site code allocation service.
  • CDDA 2016 Evaluation Criteria.pdf - EIONET Priority dataflows - detailed criteria for scoring of the national CDDA data deliveries.

*** is for country code or name

Each of the country data packages is uploaded in a draft envelope on the Reportnet Central Data Repository (CDR), in the respective CDDA collection folder of the country. The envelope has 2016 in its name, but otherwise follows the naming convention that you have used in the previous envelopes. Nominated data reporters and national focal points have access to this envelope.

Update of the CDDA data

Do not use a different or older version of the template database

The pre-loaded template database contains the latest national data provided by you in a structure defined by the CDDA Data Dictionary. It should be verified and updated with your new information. The analysis reports, included in the package, provide information on problems and errors we have detected in your previous deliveries. Please try to correct them or provide an explanation if it is not possible.

Do not use a different or older version of the database template because quality checking and aggregation routines will fail. The database template provides a possibility to run selected quality checks on the data. We recommend you use it and fix the detected issues before you export the data to XML and upload them on the agreed data repository (see below).

Site codes

Use site code allocation web service to reserve new codes for your sites

SITE_CODE is the unique identifier throughout the CDDA dataset. The web service for allocation of site codes for new sites is available at:

The service will be upated with the information from the last year reporting cycle by the end of January 2016. After that we kindly ask you to use this service to reserve new codes for your sites. A detailed user guide is part of the data package, and is also available for download at CDDA Data Dictionary page.

Key issues

Spatial data specifications

It is vital that all spatial features are given correct SITE_CODEs

spatial data specification

Last year a spatial specification was set up in order to improve further the quality of the reported spatial polygons and points. The current country deliveries are highly diverse when it comes to number of files, formats, names, coordinate reference systems and projections. The document with the spatial specifications is part of the data package and is also available for download at CDDA Data Dictionary page.

It is vital that all spatial features (site polygons) are given correct SITE_CODEs, which allows them to be properly linked with the site records in the tabular database. The SITE_CODE is also used as unique identifier by the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA).

EEA will calculate the coordinates of sites for which correct site boundaries have been delivered. Countries should indicate in the appropriate database field if they want this to be done. These coordinates will satisfy the coordinate requirements criteria for the Eionet progress report. The calculated coordinates will be made available in the sites table of the next version of the European data set.

Marine sites

Ensure that your marine sites are reported

Please make an effort to use the fields Major ecosystem type and Marine area percentage to mark the marine sites designated at national level.

Given the rising focus on the protection of the marine environment, on global as well as European level, it is important to have data (in particular the site boundaries) to show what countries have already put in place. There is no requirement to redeliver marine sites already provided under international agreements, e.g. the Regional Sea Conventions, or the Natura 2000 and Emerald networks. Relevant guidance notes, incl contact information on the national participants to the MSFD Marine Expert Group, are posted at this address:

Data delivery and Automatic QA

Please export your data to xml files, upload them and check the results of the automatic QA

Your quality checked data should be uploaded, after consultation with the National Focal Point, either to the Central Data Repository, by the deadline of: 15 March 2015.

You can upload back to the draft envelope created by EEA or if this envelope has been completed (closed) you can create a new one.

The delivery should consist of the following parts:

  • Microsoft Access database - updated template database. Please use only the original .mdb format, don't change it to the newer .accdb
  • XML files - these files should be created by you by using 'Generate XML files' function in the database template. XML files are needed for Automatic QA service to provide you with an immediate feedback on the quality of your delivery.
  • Spatial site boundaries data - updated .shp or .sqlite files with sites boundaries polygons. Boundaries of designations not creating sites should be also present if your country is reporting information in the designation_boundaries table.
  • Additional information - any supporting or clarifying information that you think is necessary in order to explain your delivery. Use any format you think will serve the purpose.

The update of automatic quality assurance (QA) procedures for the CDDA data will be done by the end of January or early February. We therefore kindly ask you, if you manage to finalize the update of your CDDA data earlier, please, postpone your deliveries to later dates in February or to March.

Once updated, the automatic QA will check the following data quality indicators:

  • presence of the mandatory values
  • duplicities in the unique identifiers
  • correctness of the data type of the reported values
  • correctness of the codes reported in the fields linked to a codelist, including the correct use of site codes
  • position of the reported site coordinates against the country boundaries

The automatic QA service requires that you upload your data in xml format. You get the xml files, one per CDDA table, by using the 'Generate XML files' function in your MS Access template. Please zip the files and upload them to the CDR together with the updated MS Access database file. The zip archive will be automatically unzipped.

Once you are done, you will notice that a 'Run QA #1' button appears next to the each of the xml files in addition to the 'Run Full QA' and 'Run relation QA' buttons. 'Run QA #2' will be available next to sites.xml file and will check position of the reported sites coordinates against the respective country boundaries. We recommend that you use these in order to check the quality of your data. The full QA is automatically executed when you release the envelope and results are then stored in the Feedback section of the CDR envelope. If any problems are detected, please try to fix them and redeliver your data before you close the envelope. The more problems you can fix before you release the data, the faster your deliveries can be processed.

A further level of data quality checks will be carried out by ETC/BD data managers and EEA, as usual.

Evaluation and scoring criteria

Please consult the revised evaluation criteria for the 2015 data collection


EEA has reported to EEA Management Board on country responses to the CDDA National data collection since 1999 (see archive of EIONET Progress reports). The purpose of the priority data flows report is to show progress against agreed, stable, well-defined objectives in order to allow countries to focus their resources on putting regular reporting procedures in place.

Two clarifications to the evaluation criteria for the 2015 data collection were made. The clarifications concern the accepted projection(s) for the spatial data and the accepted spatial file formats. The detailed specifications are available here, and also in a pdf document which is part of the data package.

Anticipated changes in 2017

In order to align to the WDPA, the no data categories of the IUCNCAT field in the sites table will change to address the three cases where the IUCN category information may not be available: not reported, not applicable at the designation type level and not applicable at the site level. The current categories in CDDA are ambiguous (NA, N/A, UA)

The new codes will be:

  • Value: notReported
    Definition: The IUCN management category has not been reported.
  • Value: notApplicable
    Defintion: The IUCN management categories are not applicable to a specific designation type (e.g. Natura 2000 sites, World Heritage Sites)
  • Value: notAssigned
    Defintion: A protected area whereby the data provider has chosen not to use the IUCN management categories.

A similar request for change is made by the WDPA (UNEP-WCMC) to the INSPIRE process. You can review the request at and

In connection with the implementation of the INSPIRE Protected sites specifications, the EEA started a pilot process to review the CDDA data model. This is relevant to countries implementing INSPIRE. However, during this process certain parts of the CDDA could be simplified which would be an advantage to all countries reporting their nationally designated areas. During 2016 there will be a process for interested countries to participate in the discussions around a simplification of the CDDA data model. All countries will be informed about the resulting changes and the plans for the transition to a new and smaller CDDA data model.

Helpdesk and support



  • In the case of login problems or any other technical difficulties with Eionet web services, please contact Eionet Helpdesk
  • In the case of questions related to the content of the data requested, please contact CDDA helpdesk. Please note that only the address is new. The support is still provided by ETC/BD staff.

If the people working directly on the CDDA data delivery in your country are not PCPs or NRCs, please copy this letter to them so that they are aware of the wider context of their work at the European level.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your continued support. We look forward to another successful annual data flow.

Mette Lund - Biodiversity data and information systems
Marek Staron - Water and biodiversity data flows
European Environment Agency