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Human Environment
Atlas Team
  • Title: The Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ)
  • Description: The Economic Exclusive zones of Africa depicts areas of maritime claims by governments. Under the Law of the Sea, the EEZ is a sea zone over which a state has special rights over the exploration and use of  mineral and marine resources. In biogeography, for example, EEZ could be used for the creation of species distribution lists per country.

    The legal EEZ of a country
    starts at the coastal baseline and extends 200 nautical miles (370km) out into the sea, perpendicular to the baseline. The baseline is the combination of the low water line and straight baselines (straight baselines are enclosing bays, estuaries, lagoons, inlets, etc). The EEZ overlaps the 12 nautical mile territorial sea and the 24 nautical mile contiguous zone.  The  territorial sea is a belt of coastal waters  from the coastline of a country that is regarded as the sovereign territory of the state, except that foreign ships (both military and civilian) are allowed safe passage through it.

    Control over a contiguous zone is permitted by a coastal nation to prevent infringement of its customs, fiscal, immigration or sanitary laws and regulations. In some countries no differentiation has been made so far between the 12 and 24 nautical miles. When the space between two countries is less than 400 nautical mile the boundary should be the Median Line or should be described in a bilateral treaty. A number of  treaties can be found on the site of the United Nations  Law of the Sea



  • Title: Aids to Marine Navigation - Lighthouses
  • Description: Marine navigation aids are objects (e.g., lights, signage, electronic beacons) designed to assist in the determination of a safe course or of a vessel's position, or to warn of dangers and obstructions. A lighthouse is a tower with a bright light at the top, located at an important or dangerous place regarding navigation. They can be found in a variety of places, on rocky cliffs or sandy shoals on land, on a wave swept reef in the sea, and at entrances to harbors and bays. They serve to warn the sailor of dangerous reefs beneath the sea or perilous rocky coasts on land, and to guide ships into a safe harbor or back out to sea.

  • Original source: - US National Geospatial Intelligence Agency
  • Additional Information
  • License: ESRI License, NIMA Statement
  • GCMD Metadata Record: GCMD Metadata Record
  • Data (zipped shapefiles)