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May 21, 2012 / caitlynzim

All A’Twitter: How Social Media Aids in Science Outreach – Chapter 2

Chapter 2: Introduction to the Multipurpose Marine Cadastre

The Multipurpose Marine Cadastre (MMC) is a joint effort between the National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Coastal Services Center (CSC) and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM). The project works to create an integrated marine informational system providing jurisdictional, legal, physical, ecological and human use data in a geographical information system (GIS) framework (marinecadastre.gov). The result is a website – marinecadastre.gov – that gives users information concerning where the data came from, who provided it, access to the downloadable data, extra tools to analyze the data, examples of how other agencies or planners are using the data and links to ArcGIS Explorer in order to load the data into an online map.

The website also includes a data viewer. This viewer is designed and maintained by people at CSC and allows users to view and work with data without downloading the data first. The viewer offers the possibility of adding multiple datasets to a map, positioning the map to focus on a specific area, identifying areas and many other functions available in desktop GIS applications. Then, the user is able to save the map and retrieve a link that can be shared with other partners to view the map exactly where they first left it. While the website possesses most of the information and the downloadable data, the viewer is a very important product and one of the more used tools.

The MMC was designed to cater to ocean planners, specifically wind energy and other renewable energy sites. Much, if not all, of the datasets within the MMC are vital to determining a suitable site for renewable energy in the ocean. There are the obvious datasets such as jurisdictional boundaries, wind energy predictions and ocean uses. The MMC also includes datasets that pose helpful in the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) assessment such as marine mammal densities, critical fish habitats and physical characteristics of the ocean – such as seamounts. All of this is in efforts to decrease the length of time needed for approving a wind energy site.

There is much more to the MMC than just wind energy siting. The data registry inside of the MMC allows access to federal datasets at a national-­‐scale that can be used in decision-­‐making processes. This service has helped other agencies, such as The Nature Conservancy (TNC) cut costs by not having to collect this data themselves (Digital Coast). The MMC can also be used for less obvious reasons. By taking the MMC data and importing it into an ArcGIS Explorer – an online GIS application – or downloading it to a desktop GIS application, it can be combined with other datasets to complete a number of tasks. One example is that a dive shop operator could use MMC data in combination with his own data in order to determine great dive sites for customers.

The MMC currently houses over 80 datasets with the list growing and updating rapidly. It is an important government tool, especially in terms of the country moving towards renewable energy sources. This project deserves more credit and recognition, a goal I aim to serve throughout this master’s project. 

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