Posts Tagged ‘ocean’

The Coastal Atlas from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources

February 5, 2018 1 comment

The Maryland Coastal Atlas serves up ocean use and resource data, coastal hazard and shoreline data, and near-shore and estuarine data.  The purpose of the atlas is to make coastal related geospatial datasets available to agencies, researchers, and the general public for viewing and for performing basic overlays.  Tools are being added to make the atlas more versatile for users to do analysis and to help simplify or select data important for different users’ needs. The list of layers is extensive; at least 100 items are included.  But equally impressive is its ability to add dozens more layers from the MDiMapD database on such themes as agriculture, housing, demographics, hydrology, and much more.

The Atlas uses the Esri Web App Builder for its interactive map capabilities.  One of my favorite things about the atlas is the user’s ability to add data to the web interface from ArcGIS Online, a URL, or a file of the user’s own creation.  The site features unexpected helpful touches such as palette of drawing tools that makes the atlas a rich teaching tool, and transects that can be drawn in the map to analyze such things as erosion rates.

A few enhancements on the site could be done to make it more useful, such as an expansion of the fairly limited query tool and an explanation of how it can be used.  I was puzzled how to close the transect results once I had created one, but this and other user interface questions were small; overall, the interface was intuitive.  The Maryland Coastal Atlas provides an excellent addition to the other portals we have written about in this region, such as the Maryland iMap Data Catalog We wrote about the state of Maryland’s GIS portal in the past, and the selected other data portals for the Chesapeake Bay.

The atlas uses the map services available from the Maryland GIS Portal and the iMap Open Data Catalog that we reviewed above.  To obtain the data, go to the Maryland Data Catalog to download the data or get the API to use in an online mapping application.  All of the Maryland Coastal Hazard datasets on the atlas are available through the data catalog but not all are downloadable.  Here is an example of a dataset on the atlas shown in the iMap Data Catalog with the Download and API function available on the listing.  Every layer is a REST service hosted by Maryland iMap, managed by the Geographical Information Office (GIO) and the state IT group (DOIT).


The Coastal Atlas from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Marine Cadastre Data Viewer and Portal

January 31, 2016 1 comment

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 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.

Geospatial Data for Marine Protected Areas

April 13, 2013 2 comments

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.

More protected area data in the ocean exists now than ever before, but more is needed.

More protected area data in the ocean exists now than ever before, but more is needed.  Photo by Joseph Kerski.

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.