The Marine Cadastre Data Viewer and Portal provides direct access to authoritative marine cadastral data from U.S. federal and state sources, including information on the tracks of vessels, bathymetry, administrative boundaries, and fish, bird, and other species. It provides baseline information needed for ocean planning efforts, particularly those that involve finding the best location for renewable energy projects. The MarineCadastre.gov National Viewer uses Esri web GIS technology and is also a helpful tool in the permit review process. Users can select the ocean geography of their choosing and quickly see the applicable jurisdictional boundaries, restricted areas, laws, critical habitat locations, and other important features. With the national viewer, potential conflicts can be identified and avoided early in the planning process.
The site offers two distinct advantages: 1) The ability to view over 75 data layers from a variety of sources in a single live ArcGIS Online-based web map viewer; 2) The ability to download those same layers from the map interface for additional analysis. We have been critical in this blog about sites that get the user tantalizingly close to downloading the data but never quite allow it. This one delivers. The only thing I have not been able to get to work during my review of the resource is the buffer tool.
See this site for additional information about the data layers and services. In addition, you can explore the set of layers on ArcGIS Online in the Marine Cadastre group.
The European Atlas of the Seas, launched in 2011, provides open access to a variety of global and European maritime and geographical datasets covering eight main themes:
- Nature – bathing water quality, protected areas
- Tourism – museums, aquariums
- Security and safety – major oil spills, accident density
- People and employment – coastal population, employment in the fishing industry
- Transport and energy – shipping for goods and passenger transport.
- Governance and European policies – fisheries local action groups (FLAGs), regional advisory councils (RACs)
- Fisheries and aquaculture – fishing quotas, state of fish stocks, fish farms
The Atlas is continually updated with revised and additional datasets provided by the contributing departments, agencies and international organisations including UNESCO, FAO, USDA FSA, USGS, NOAA, Esri and IHQ. Some of the datasets are available to download in shapefile and KML format, and the accompanying metadata provide details on the data sources referenced.
Scientific attention to the oceans has been gaining strength over the past few years and with it a recognized need for expanding the spatial data covering the oceans. A few organizations are leading the way in providing these resources. For example, registering on this website allows access to the World Database on Protected Areas (WDPA), which includes all nationally designated (such as national parks and nature reserves) and internationally recognized protected areas (such as UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Ramsar Wetlands of International Importance, including protected areas in the oceans. As another example, the Protected Planet site allows individual preserves to be downloaded as KMZ, CSV, and shapefiles.
A global dataset of warm water coral reefs is maintained by the UNEP’s World Conservation Monitoring Centre, but as of this writing, their ArcGIS Online map link was broken and it was much easier on the site to find books rather than spatial data. I found the portal maintained by Reefbase to be much easier to use, including point data for monitoring sites, reef locations, and even coral diseases. However, unfortunately, the data are only available in Excel or CSV formats: Therefore, they need a bit of tinkering to get them into a GIS.
Despite the difficulties that some of these sites pose, the amount and variety of protected area spatial data for the oceans is growing. And just in time, too, as it is needed now more than ever.