Abstract. The intertidal macrophyte vegetation of the island of Helgoland (Germany, North Sea) was recently mapped by applying the biotope concept developed by Connor and co-workers in the UK. Having defined the biotopes in the field and having developed a geographical information system, this is a useful method to do regular surveys of the area in order to record the spatial spread of relevant communities on a higher hierarchical level. Additionally, hyperspectral remote sensing methods were applied for the same area in order to develop a tool to receive synoptic spatial data of the whole area including inaccessible sites. This method is promising to detect the patchiness and spatial change of dominant intertidal macrophytes, but the method needs further development. Either of both approaches will be useful to complement the monitoring demands required for the EU WFD.