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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 of this JNCC information hub (these web pages), and the JCDP data portal, which is hosted by the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES). 

JCDP Logo (Medium)

ICES was contracted by JNCC on behalf of Defra, to build the JCDP system including the database and associated portal to enable submission, exploration of and access to the data. 

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 data portal as they are develop and the portal matures. 


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

Screenshot of the cover of the JCDP Data Standard

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 submittable to the JCDP. This will ensure a high-quality, cohesive database that enables effective analysis. 

JCDP Data Standard (version 1.1)



Data Provision, Access and Use Guidance

Screenshot of the cover of the JCDP Data Provision, Access and Use Guidance

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.

JCDP Data Provision, Access and Use Guidance (version 1.1)



Data Submission Guidance

Screenshot of the cover of the JCDP Data Submission Guidance

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.

JCDP Data Submission Guidance (version 1)


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.

The JCDP metadata portal is now available online. 

Screenshot of the cover of the JCDP Metadata Guidance

A user guidance document has been produced to help with creation and management of JCDP metadata records. 

JCDP Metadata Guidance (version 2.0)



Survey and dataset level metadata:

The JCDP data portal hosts metadata on each of the hosted datasets contributed to the JCDP. When preparing data for upload, data providers will be required to provide metadata to accompany the submission. 


JCDP database level metadata:

The JCDP database overarching metadata record is in INSPIRE format which provides high-level information about the programme and database. 

Open the JCDP database level metadata record


JCDP Data Collection Guidance

The JCDP is creating resources to support data collectors who wish to either adapt existing or begin new data collection events. These resources promote collection and storage of high quality data, that are also compatible with the JCDP.

This resource will not for mandatory use, but will be freely available to anyone wishing to use it to develop and plan existing or new data collection surveys.

Data Collection Guidance

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.


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Joint Cetacean Data Programme

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