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For information on frequently asked questions about the Marine Data Exchange, please read on. If you can't find the question or answer you're looking for, please get in touch at mde@thecrownestate.co.uk

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What is the Marine Data Exchange? show/hide

The Marine Data Exchange (MDE) is a system that The Crown Estate has developed to store, manage and disseminate offshore survey data provided by our offshore renewable and marine aggregates customers.

Once the survey data is no longer commercially valuable, we work with our customers to make the data accessible via this website.

You can also find the outputs of a number of collaborative research projects, such as the COWRIE (Collaborative Offshore Wind Research Into the Environment) database, which this system replaces.

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Why does The Crown Estate collect these data? show/hide

Each offshore renewable Agreement granted by The Crown Estate contains a Data Clause requiring our customers to provide us with their offshore survey data collected throughout the lifetime of a project. This is for a number of reasons, including: 

  • to safeguard the retention of data and information for industry and future research;
  • to ensure that the best available evidence is available for sustainable decision making;
  • to provide developers with access to data and information that enhances development opportunities;
  • to work with developers to promote best practice data management;
  • to provide information to aid The Crown Estate, industry and public understanding of the marine estate;
  • to facilitate collaboration and research for the benefit of the industries concerned;
  • to provide support for development programmes in the event of future development opportunities;

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MDE Leaflet Free Access

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MDE leaflet working with others

Do I need to register? show/hide

You do not need to register to use the Marine Data Exchange. The site has been designed to be open to all. However, registering for the site will allow access to some additional functions, including saving searches for future visits, posting on the Exchange Board, and providing comments on the resources you have viewed.

Is there a cost to download from the Marine Data Exchange? show/hide

There is no cost. Downloading datasets and reports from the MDE Data Catalogue is free.

What do I do if I don't receive an email containing my requested data? show/hide

Once you have been through the order process, the system will automatically package up your data and send you an email containing links from which you can download the data and/or reports.

The time that it takes for you to receive the email is dependent upon how much data you have ordered and how big it is. However, you should receive the email within a few hours. If you do not receive an email, please get in touch with us at mde@thecrownestate.co.uk.

If the data that you have ordered is larger than 100MB, we will send you an XML extension metalink file. This can be used in a download manager tool. There are a range of tools that use this protocol. We use JDownloader. Prior to this process, we stored all 'big data' offline (i.e. anything too large to download over the internet). Therefore, the addition of a metalink file means that you can now get access to all data, regardless of size, instantly. 

If you have any questions, uncertainties or would like help in finding additional data, please get in touch.


What is a Series? show/hide

A Series is analogous to a MEDIN Series which can be defined as a collection of datasets and reports collected in relation to a survey or data collection campaign, linked by a common research question.

What is a Dataset? show/hide

A dataset is a 'pillar' of data and information related to a single parameter (something measured), instrument (technology used to measure) or method (way of measuring something).

What is a Report? show/hide

A Report is a set of documents relating to part, or the whole of a survey or data collection campaign.

Can I use advanced search queries? show/hide

Yes. You can use wildcards, logical operators and quotation marks.

To use wildcards, simply include a "*" before or after your desired search term


Note: you cannot use wildcards within quotation marks.

To use logical operators, simply use them in capital letters.

birds AND mammals
birds OR mammals

Include quotation marks around your search terms whenever they're formed by more than a word.

"marine mammals"
birds AND "marine mammals"