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CDDA data collection 2017

Released on 2016-12-21 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 2017

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 core 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 2017.

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 2016 QC.pdf - Summary report on the quality of the latest European CDDA data.
  • QA_CDDA_v14_v2016_***.pdf - Country specific report on the quality of the latest CDDA data delivery.
  • CDDA Spatial data specification v1.pdf - 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.
  • NOTE_dissemination code 20161216.pdf - Information note on the use of the dissemination codes on the tabular and spatial data and the implications of data restrictions at the international levels.
  • CDDA Designation boundaries concept.pdf - Information note on the concept of designation boundaries used in the CDDA reporting.

*** 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 2017 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 reports on quality of the data, 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 has been updated with the information from the last year reporting cycle. 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. Please note that the layout of the web page has been recently changed, compared to the user guide, but the functionality of the page remains the same.

Key issues

Spatial data specifications

It is vital that all spatial features are given correct SITE_CODEs

spatial data specification

A spatial specification is provided in order to improve further the quality of the reported spatial polygons and points. The country deliveries have become much more consistent in the past few years, but there are still issues with the number of files delivered, with 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. You should indicate in the appropriate database field if you want this to be done. 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 through national designation schemes. Relevant guidance notes, including 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, to the Central Data Repository, by the deadline of: 15 March 2017.

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.

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 strongly 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 and EEA, as usual. These check will be used for the country data quality reports.

Scoring criteria


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.

The CDDA evaluation criteria changed during 2016 to EIONET core data flow scoring criteria. This is an outcome of the 2015 EIONET review process. As the CDDA is currently in a transition phase due to Inspire and 2017 is the last year of reporting in the current format, it was decided not to set up detailed new scoring criteria and routines that would only be valid for the 2017 reporting. In early January more information will be provided about how the 2017 CDDA reporting will be scored.

Changes in 2017

In order to align to the WDPA, the no data categories of the IUCNCAT field in the sites table was changed 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 no data categories in CDDA up to 2016 were ambiguous (NA, N/A, UA). As it is not straightforward to map the old with the new no data categories, please revise the no data categories in your data.

The new codes:

  • 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

During 2017 the national designation types will become available as a codelist and a registry from the EEA website. From 2018 onwards the update of national designation types will become detached from the CDDA annual reporting and the current Designations table in the CDDA data model will become redundant and will be removed. From 2018 countries will update their designation types online via a webform. The updating will only to take place when a country changes the legislation referenced by the designation types.

Anticipated changes in 2018

During 2015-2016 the EEA reviewed in collaboration with NRC biodivdata the CDDA data model in the project CDDA data model and Inspire. 2018 will be the first year for the new CDDA data model and new reporting work flows (eReporting). The current CDDA templates are using Access 2003, which will no longer be supported. We are currently looking into appropriate alternatives for the templates. In parallel, towards the end of 2017, the INSPIRE Annex I spatial data themes including the Protected Sites are expected to be available in a harmonised data format and accessible via web services from all countries implementing INSPIRE. In the beginning of 2017 we will come back to you with more information about the plans for the new reporting work flow using the new CDDA data model.

A short and rather technical summary for those with an immediate interest: Some testing is currently taking place internally at the EEA based on the new CDDA data model. The 2018 CDDA reporting aims to reuse the data that will become available in the framework of INSPIRE while avoiding duplications in the reporting. The testing investigates how to link the non-spatial CDDA elements with the core INSPIRE Protected Sites elements. The INSPIRE data could be provided to the EEA via manual file upload or via INSPIRE web service. For CDDA this means that the reporting will be split into two parts, INSPIRE Protected Site and the rest, which will be provided separately. At a recent NRC EIS (Environmental Information Systems) meeting the Linked Approach and some first results for CDDA were presented. More information will come soon and we will also be looking for countries willing to do some testing.

Assessing the 2020 EU biodiversity strategy

It is important to note that the 2017 data collection will be used for the assessment of the progress towards the targets of the EU Biodiversity strategy in 2020. The integration to the European dataset and updating of indicators will happen in 2017 and 2018 while the further analyses and assessments will be ongoing during 2018 and 2019. As the 2018 reporting of the CDDA will be the first year of reporting according to the new data model and following a new workflow, which is still under development, it is considered risky to rely on the 2018 reporting as the main source of information on nationally designated areas for the assessment of the 2020 Biodiversity strategy. Where feasible and possible newer information will be included in the assessments, but the 2017 data reporting will hopefully provide a solid basis for 2020 knowledge base.

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. This support is 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