Marsden Square translator service

The Marsden Square translator service provides the means to calculate the geographical coordinates of the rectangular bounding box enclosing the squares represented by an input list of Marsden Square references. The output is provided as an ISO (International Organization for Standardization) 19115 compliant XML fragment. To find out more, follow these links:

  • Introduction — a brief introduction to Marsden Squares
  • Method — currently deployed Web Service method with links to implementation instructions and the Web Services Description Language (WSDL) schema
  • Technical specification — additional information for the Web Service specialist


Marsden Squares provide a mechanism for expressing spatial coordinates based on dividing the Earth's surface into indexed squares. They are mainly used for identifying the geographic position of meteorological and oceanographic data. For example, at BODC we use Marsden Squares in our cruise inventory.

The world is subdivided into 936 Marsden Squares. Each square represents ten degrees of latitude by ten degrees of longitude. These ten degree squares may be further divided into five or one degree squares.


  • msqinput — The input is a string containing a list of Marsden Square numbers separated by one or more white space characters.

Full details for implementing this method can be viewed on the Marsden Square translator service method page. General information on how to set up Web Services is available from the BODC Web Services home page.

For generating client software to implement these methods, scripts can be automatically generated using the WSDL.

Technical specification

Style — Document/Literal Wrapped

Service name — MSQTranslator

Implementation — Axis