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SeaSketch to help in sustainable ocean management

US: The University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB), US, has officially launched SeaSketch, an ocean planning tool supported by Esri. Conservationists, planners and ocean resource managers are now able to use the GIS application and Esri”s ArcGIS Online to plan sustainable ocean use management.

Esri”s support of the UCSB SeaSketch project is a component of the Esri Ocean GIS Initiative, which allows people to positively impact the future through a deeper, geographic understanding of the ocean.

Researchers from the UCSB McClintock Lab designed SeaSketch to study human impacts on the ocean environment and plan responsible resource management. An agency that buys a SeaSketch subscription from UCSB can set up an online workspace and invite planners and stakeholders to design and study plan elements such as marine protected areas, aquaculture sites and permitted fishing.

The cloud-based ArcGIS Online plays a major role in SeaSketch. It enables project managers to discover an enormous amount of geospatial data that may be helpful for their projects. Because SeaSketch incorporates Esri”s ArcGIS web development technology, project managers can easily move from ArcGIS environments into SeaSketch.

Organisations can leverage existing investments in ArcGIS by directly pulling published map services into SeaSketch, ensuring the application uses the most current data available. Adding GIS tools and applications to SeaSketch extends its capabilities. For example, adding Esri and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration”s (NOAA) Benthic Terrain Modeler (BTM) gives users a set of geoprocessing tools to analyze benthic terrain and classify surficial seafloor characteristics.

The United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC) will use SeaSketch to facilitate dialogue among businesses, organisations and governments regarding the use of the high seas. Damon Stanwell-Smith, acting head, marine assessment and decision support programme of UNEP-WCMC, says that SeaSketch is a great step forward in interactive marine spatial planning. Marine data can be complicated and complex to many people who need it. SeaSketch provides a friendly, intuitive tool to help people understand ocean resources and work together to create a plan.

Source: Hydro International