Yes, we are launching a cross-organization effort to enhance our capabilities to support GIS in marine and oceanographic applications. Many of our users have applied GIS and geoprocessing modeling to countless problems in the coastal zone and marine planning world, but more still needs to be done. To that end, we are starting a major program to build data models, tools, and applications that support the oceanographic environment including applications for science, charting, data management, fisheries, and marine planning. The following are a series of specific commitments that Esri is making in this regard, and we invite our users to collaborate with us.
- Hiring a marine science leader as chief scientist for Esri. Dr. Dawn Wright will oversee our efforts in this field and work to build and support a strong community of our users addressing the challenges and problems of oceanographic information and its applications.
- Developing a global oceanographic basemap. This effort involves building a high-quality reference basemap for world oceans. This multi-scale basemap was released on June 21, World Hydrography Day. Over the next year more details will be added, down to the scale of 1:36,000 in the coastal areas of North America. Esri is inviting our users to participate in the construction of a large repository of bathymetric information that will be used as a foundation for the creation of this multi-scale basemap (similar to the community topographic basemap).
- Developing a marine planning application. This effort is being led by the University of California, Santa Barbara and will result in an easy-to-use geodesign-focused application for use in marine planning efforts around the world (i.e., coastal zone planning, sanctuary planning, fisheries planning, etc.).
- Continue developing oceanographic charting capabilities. Currently a number of governments including the US (NOAA), Denmark, Greece, and others have implemented the complete template and set of workflows for nautical chart production. We are expanding this capability, integrating standard data types, and building support for additional charting types and ENCs (electronic navigation charts).
- Developing a new solution for bathymetric data management. This is a challenging information model and workflow. Esri is applying parts of its image management technology (mosaics and super mosaics) to support the ability to integrate multiple bathymetric data sources and create continuous bathymetric surfaces.
We are working closely with a number of partners that provide complementary information technologies that will support the implementation of these integrated information systems.