Maritime zones delimitation – Problems and solutions
Keywords: Maritime zones, Boundaries delimitation, Territorial sea, Contiguous zone, Exclusive Economic Zone, Continental shelf
Abstract. The delimitation of maritime zones and boundaries foreseen by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) is a factor of economic growth, effective management of the coastal and ocean environment and the cornerstone for maritime spatial planning. Maritime zones and boundaries form the outermost limits of coastal states and their accurate delineation and cartographic portrayal is a matter of national priority. Although UNCLOS is a legal document, its implementation -at first place- is purely technical and requires -amongst others- theoretical and applied background on Geodesy, Cartography and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) for those involved. This paper provides a brief historical background of the evolution of the UNCLOS, presents the various concepts of the Convention and identifies the problems inherent in the maritime delimitation process. Furthermore, it presents solutions that will facilitate the cartographer’s work in order to achieve unquestionable results. Through the paper it becomes evident that the role of the cartographer and the GIS expert is critical for the successful implementation of maritime delimitation.