Report on Coastal Mapping and Informatics Trans-Atlantic Workshop 1: Potentials and Limitations of Coastal Web Atlases.
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AbstractExecutive Summary THE IMPORTANCE OF COASTAL WEB MAPPING Governments, industry sectors, academic institutions and Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) have a tremendous stake in the development and management of geospatial data resources. Coastal mapping plays an important role in informing decision makers on issues such as national sovereignty, resource management, maritime safety and hazard assessment. Efforts to improve data accessibility are driven by legislation on topics such as Environmental management, open access of public sector information and data standards and harmonisation. The development of Geographic Information System (GIS) based web mapping products has improved the usability of GISs by non-specialists. This, combined with community needs, has resulted in the growth of a niche group of interactive coastal web atlases (CWAs) around the world, developed to address the needs of the coastal and marine community. The 2006 Green Paper on Future Maritime Policy in the European Union stated: “a veritable Atlas of EU coastal waters… could serve as an instrument for spatial planning” (European Commission 2006, p. 35), illustrating the increasing recognition of the potential of CWAs, even at an international level. TRANS-ATLANTIC WORKSHOPS ON COASTAL MAPPING AND INFORMATICS Funding was obtained through the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Marine RTDI programme in Ireland to organize two trans-Atlantic workshops on coastal mapping and informatics. The first workshop, entitled “Potentials and Limitations of Coastal Web Atlases,” was hosted by the Coastal and Marine Resources Centre (CMRC) at University College Cork in Ireland in July 2006. This workshop brought together key experts from Europe and North America to examine state-of-the-art CWA developments, share lessons learned, determine future needs in mapping and informatics for the coastal practitioner community and identify potential opportunities for collaboration. COASTAL WEB ATLAS FEATURES A coastal web atlas is a collection of digital maps and datasets with supplementary tables, illustrations and information that systematically illustrate the coast, oftentimes with cartographic and decision-support tools, and all of which are accessible via the Internet. Access to the various components can be provided in different ways. The typical CWA contains a number of general features, including: geospatial data and metadata; a map area for data display; a legend and/or layer list; tools to interact with the map and data; data attribute tables; topical information; powerful server and software technologies; and a wellrounded atlas design to meet atlas and user needs. COASTAL WEB ATLAS CASE STUDIES As part of the workshop, a number of representative coastal web atlas case studies from both sides of the Atlantic were presented by developers. This report provides an overview of the case studies, which highlight key aspects of CWA development and operations such as atlas purpose, institutional support, technology and functionality. Those included as case studies are: The UK Coastal and Marine Resource Atlas; De Kustatlas Online, Belgium; The Marine Irish Digital Atlas; The Oregon Coastal Atlas; North Coast Explorer, Oregon; and Mapping Tools for Coastal Management, Virginia. STRENGTHS, WEAKNESSES, OPPORTUNITIES AND THREATS ANALYSIS During the workshop, four working groups were established to identify issues related to atlas design, data, technology and institutional capacity. Each working group focussed its discussion by carrying out a Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) Analysis. CONSIDERATIONS FOR ATLAS DEVELOPMENT The design and usability of an atlas are keys to its success. An atlas should clearly communicate its purpose, be visually appealing, be kept as simple as possible, use efficient technology and management systems and have a flexible design to enable growth and change over time. Ultimately its success relies on the atlas users, so efforts should be made regularly to ensure that it meets the needs of those users. An output of the workshop was a list of considerations for atlas design and implementation on topics such as data content and display, metadata, atlas interface, atlas tools, technology, user feedback and support for maintenance and future developments.
Publisher or UniversityOregon State University