Designing for our Oceans
January 24, 2012 5:30 PM–7:00 PM
Broome Library 1360
Marine spatial planning, such as the design of marine protected areas or renewable energy sites, requires the use of decision support tools for visualizing, analyzing and modeling geospatial information. Historically, these tools have been designed for
those with specialized knowledge of geographic information systems (GIS) and not the average stakeholder - average folks with little or no technical background. Tools that can be used by anyone, regardless of their technical ability, will increase buy-in,
transparency, and efficiency in planning. Furthermore, web-based decision support tools can be developed to facilitate communication and collaboration amongst disparate stakeholders and encourage participation by more users over a broader geographic region.
“GeoDesign” is a term used to describe an iterative process of sketching spatial plans (e.g., prospective marine protected area designs) and receiving immediate feedback on the potential consequences of those designs (e.g., ecosystem protection, economic impacts,
etc.). I will argue that web-based applications aimed at stakeholders should implement a collaborative GeoDesign work-flow that allows users to explore full range of options, share and promote prospective designs with other users, and evaluate alternatives
using a common, science-based framework. MarineMap and SeaSketch are two web-based applications developed for collaborative GeoDesign. MarineMap, based on open source technologies, is a highly successful tool used by stakeholders for marine spatial planning
along the West Coast of the United States. SeaSketch, based on a combination of open-source and ESRI technologies, is a “next-generation” marine spatial planning tool scheduled for use by the New Zealand Department of Conservation in July of this year. I will
present the essential features of these tools and illustrate how web-based GeoDesign technologies will transform how citizens are engaged in and ultimately responsible for how ocean space is used and managed.
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