The primary aim of the MAREANO programme is to provide geospatial decision support for the holistic, ecosystem-based management of the Barents Sea and the sea areas off the Lofoten Islands. The first phase was initiated in 2005, and covers the areas Nordland VII, Troms II, Tromsøflaket and Eggakanten (the shelf edge north of Tromsøflaket). These areas were deemed particularly valuable and vulnerable during the pre-MAREANO planning process. The first phase will be finished in 2010. MAREANO comprises extensive mapping, and research and development. Mapping starts with a multibeam echosounder survey, which provides a detailed bathymetric terrain model and backscatter data. This is followed by sampling to provide ground truthing – with a variety of tools such as corers and grabs, trawls, and very high resolution video equipment. Fundamental products include hydrographic and acoustic data (databases and maps), a range of geological maps, point distributions of biological data (biomass, species, taxonomy) and point distribution of selected inorganic and organic contaminants. An important derived product is predicted naturetype maps, where terrain and sediment characteristics are integrated with biological data. Naturetype maps are similar to what have previously been termed "habitat" or "biotope" maps.