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JCDP Data Standard and Resources

As outlined in the JCDP vision, standardisation of data is a key step in aligning quality and enabling effective collation of cetacean data. The JCDP has developed a series of resources to facilitate and support a high standard of data to ensure the collated dataset is of a quality on which to perform robust analyses.

JCDP Platform

The JCDP platform comprises the JNCC information hub (these webpages and resources), the JCDP Data Portal, and the Metadata Catalogue (both hosted by ICES).

JCDP Logo (Medium)


JCDP Data Standard and Resources

A standardised approach to data collection is essential to not only streamline the collation process, but also to ensure user confidence in the data. The JCDP developed and agreed a data standard with support from the assembled expert steering group, based on existing data collection projects and knowledge of data analysis needs. 




Data Standard

JCDP Data Standard (version 1.3)

The Data Standard outlines the core fields and vocabulary required for submission to the JCDP. It is essential for data to meet this standard in order to be submitted to the JCDP. This will ensure a high-quality, cohesive database that enables effective analysis. 

Data Provision, Access and Use Guidance

JCDP Data Provision, Access and Use Guidance (version 2)

The Data Provision, Access and Use Guidance provides additional considerations to the ICES Data Policy, that are specific to the JCDP. It sets out the responsibilities that the data owners/providers and end users of the data have with respect to making data contributions to, or requesting data from, the JCDP.

Data Access Guidance

JCDP Data Access Guidance (version 1)

The Data Access Guidance provides instruction for accessing, browsing and downloading records from the JCDP Portal and Metadata Catalogue. Additionally it summarises data-users responsibility to report outputs and cite the JCDP.

Suggested JCDP citation:

Joint Cetacean Data Programme (JCDP) (, 2022. ICES, Copenhagen


JCDP Metadata

Metadata is essential as part of any data submission to ensure data are understood and used appropriately. Metadata is information about data which can improve discoverability, describe and define the resource and help bring similar resources together.




Data Submission Guidance

JCDP Data Submission Guidance (version 1)

This document is a step-by-step guide through the data submission process for the JCDP Data Portal. It provides details of how to register on the system, prepare and screen data, and then submit and manage data on the Data Portal.

Metadata Guidance

JCDP Metadata Guidance (version 2)


The JCDP data portal hosts metadata on each of the hosted datasets which have contributed to the JCDP. When preparing data for upload, data providers will be required to provide metadata to accompany the submission. A user guidance document has been produced to help with creation and management of JCDP metadata records. 

The JCDP metadata portal is now available online. It hosts metadata on each of the datasets which have contributed to the JCDP, along with an overarching metadata record for the entire database.


JCDP Data Collection Guidance

Ensuring that at-sea cetacean data collection follows an agreed set of guidelines minimises the discrepancies in the resulting data, and allows these data to be more readily combined and analysed together. This allows disparate datasets to be used as one and provides far greater insight into the abundance and distribution of cetaceans over greater spatial resolutions.

In order to aid standardised collection, JNCC and other organisations have developed the following guidance. These resources promote collection and storage of high quality data, that are also compatible with the JCDP.


Screenshot of the cover of the JCDP Data Collection Guidance

This guidance supports collection of data in a way that fits the JCDP data standard. There is no requirement for data collectors to use this guidance, but it has been made available for use as required.

JCDP Data Collection Guidance (version 1)


Distance Sampling tutorial videos

These information videos cover Distance Sampling theory and best practice. They were developed by the University of St Andrews and funded by Natural England. 

Introduction to Distance sampling

Introduction to Field Methods

Data collection recording format

In support of the data collection guidance, the JCDP data template spreadsheet can be used to create recording sheets for cetacean survey data, with optional fields hidden where they are not needed. 

The JCDP data template can be downloaded from the ICES website.


JCDP Data Products

The portal will enable interested parties to explore the data available and request access to download and use the data from the portal. 

As part of the JCDP data portal, the aim is to make a number of data products available online. These products will become available on the JCDP platform as they are developed and the project matures. 


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Joint Cetacean Data Programme

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