With ca. 185 000 km of coastline, Europe's enclosed and marginal seas have played a key role in shaping the economic and cultural geography of adjoining nations over many centuries, and can provide a vital contribution to the EU 2020 objectives of a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth.
Understanding the inner workings of these diverse seas has become a priority in supporting political requirements underlined by recently adopted European marine and maritime Policy, as well as achieving EU commitments with regard to international conventions addressing biodiversity targets, climate change mitigation and the efficient use of natural resources.

Through the analysis of satellite remote sensing data and the application of numerical modelling, the Joint Research Centre (JRC) of the European Commission contributes to an effective and long-lasting marine and coastal stewardship by providing scientific and technical value-added products and information on the European regional seas.

The Environmental Marine Information System (EMIS) has been developed to facilitate access to these environmental products. It includes a simple and user-friendly mapping tool (GIS application) that provides information by way of geo-referenced maps created in realtime, and supplies the users with basic navigation and interrogation tools for regional assessment.

Note that the Environmental Marine Information System has been mirrored for application in Africa, Caribbean and Pacific as the Global Marine Information System (GMIS)