U.S. National Science Foundation Project OCE 00-03970

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GIS, database design and web interfacing by Jeremey Bartley and Grimay Misgna

GIS database development and web interfacing by Casey McLaughlin

Database administrative support: Kurt Look

Grid Cell Structure and Map Images for the Hexacoral Biogeography
and LOICZ Typology Environmental Database

 LOICZ Grid Cell System

Geographic conventions: NORTH latitude and EAST longitude are POSITIVE numbers; SOUTH latitude and WEST longitude are negative.

The objectives of the LOICZ cell structure are to provide a geographically structured basis for database design that will:

Half-degree resolution has been selected as the most realistically useful compromise between desired resolution and the available data and methods. Of the 259200 half-degree cells on the earth's surface, a total of 47057 have been identified as primary typology cells (coastal, terrestrial and ocean-I). The remaining oceanic cells (145989) are included to provide complete coverage for both the larger LOICZ budget sites and for the NOPP/OBIS partner program, Biogeography of the Hexacorallia. This cell structure also serves the needs of other partner projects.

Land or Terrestrial cells (T) are typically defined as the cells containing only land (or fresh water). Coverage typically extends 2 cells (one degree) inland from the most landward coastal cell, although they have been extended farther inland in a few areas (e.g., estuaries not well represented by the shoreline data set). These will not have ocean variables.

Coastal cells (C), defined as those containing a significant length of the World Vector Shoreline -- these cover significant areas of both land and (marine or estuarine) water, and will be populated with all classes of variables.

Oceanic I cells (OI) are those extending seaward from the coastal cells the greater of (a) one degree, or (b) the 50 or 100 m isobath in areas of a broad shelf, or (c) to include all of a budgeted area. These will have only oceanic and atmospheric variables.

Oceanic II cells (OII) are those additional cells needed to complete the infilling of relatively enclosed water bodies or coastal seas that might be the target of future up-scaled budgeting exercises.

Oceanic III cells (OIII) cover all remaining oceanic areas not included in the other classes.

Inland Cells (I) cover all remaining land areas not covered in other classes.


Cell ID numbers are based on a sequential global grid of half-degree cells. Numbering (from 1 to 259200) begins with the cell centered at 89.5 degrees N latitude and 179.5 degrees W latitude (89.5, -179.5) and proceeds from west to east. When a full circle (or row, in a planar projection) of 720 cells (360 degrees/0.5 degrees/cell) is completed, the numbering steps one cell south along the -180 meridian and continues sequentially west to east.

Statistics on cell types and numbers

Cell Class

Number of Cells 

Total primary Typology cells


Oceanic III


Oceanic II


Oceanic I






Inland 66317

Non-Typology Cells


Total number of 0.5 degree cells in the world


Typology cells: Illustrative views at various scales and with various features --

1. General (world) typology cell structure

2. Zoom to mid-Americas greater Caribbean general typology

3. Further zoom to to Florida/Gulf area

4. World typology with LOICZ budget sites (sites as of January 2001 -- inventory not current)

5. LOICZ and COML (Community of Marine Life)

6. World Basins (Building block of the basins variables)


Older images of continents -- Terrestrial, coastal and ocean I cells only. Images are continuous on a single page; use links or scroll through.