The project addresses important benefits for a large number of stakeholders, such as:

  1. An efficient survey methodology and smart mapping/visualization result in a considerable cost reduction for the marine industry during the preparatory phase of activities. Additionally, expensive damage and the hereby caused loss of time will be prevented during the activities themselves.
  2. A better and sustainable management, within a well-defined legal framework, including the provision of permits and the monitoring and evaluation of heritage in the North Sea, will allow a more efficient government and authorities through a pro-active approach.
  3. The project will provide adequate tools to prevent or minimize damage to the underwater heritage, not only for offshore activities but also in the proximity of the coastal zone which is currently under high pressure due to large-scale coastal defense works.
  4. Incorporating underwater cultural heritage in marine spatial planning and in the overall management at sea will improve the visibility of this heritage and increase public involvement and awareness with regard to this heritage.
  5. The project will produce cutting edge and previously unknown information in regard to heritage at sea which offers important opportunities for museums and heritage centers to renew their collections and make them more appealing to tourists.
  6. Underwater cultural heritage does not only provide unmatched information on the (pre)historic evolution of the area of present-day Belgium (and NW Europe), but also about the changes in the environment that occurred at the time. This provides more insight into current coastal changes in relation to the current rise in sea level and climate change.

The valorization strategy comprises a broad spectrum of actions including:

  1. Continuous distribution of information (project website, brochures, etc);
  2. Large-scale consultation of all stakeholders at the start of the project;
  3. Regular meetings of the advisory committees;
  4. Targeted workshops addressing the latest developments in survey methodology and management policy;
  5. Interactive workshops and demo-sessions related to mapping and visualization (SDI/wedGIS);
  6. Information packs and practical guidelines for the marine industry, government agencies, fisheries and divers;
  7. Targeted visits to companies and government agencies to increase awareness of the guidelines and to assure their correct application;
  8. News coverage in newspapers, TV and social media including strategic press releases at appropriate times;
  9. Preparation of post-track valorization options.
    In addition, the project results will be disseminated in the scientific world through publications in journals, presentations at conferences, etc.