How MarineMap facilitates environmental conflict resolution
MarineMap offers a simple, flexible and powerful means of gathering expertise from resource managers, scientists, stakeholders and public in a process of collaborative decision making.
The MarineMap Consortium brings together personnel and skills from UC Santa Barbara, Ecotrust, and The Nature Conservancy.
They create open-source spatial tools that integrate and illuminate the human dimensions of marine science and policy.
The 1999 Marine Life Protection Act directs the state of California to design and manage a network of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in order to, among other things, protect marine life and habitats, marine ecosystems, and marine natural heritage, as well as improve recreational, educational and study opportunities provided by marine ecosystems.
Actually, MarineMap is a mashup of the California coastline and MPAs. The map has a large number of features and manages to include a massive amount of data.
The stated aim of MarineMap is to assist organizations involved in mapping of the oceanographic, biological, geological, chemical, and human dimensions of the ocean and coastal areas. They provide organizations with customized solutions for data storage, data sharing, and web-based mapping.
"Because such a diverse range of organizations and individuals have a stake in marine habitat protection, it is critical that MarineMap be accessible to individuals without technical GIS training.
MarineMap allows residents to define scientifically defensible MPAs in a collaborative manner.
"An absolutely critical component to this project is the ability for users to share their proposed marine protected areas and analyses with other stakeholders. Stakeholders can then collaborate and negotiate to come up with the best scenarios," said Matt Merrifield, GIS Manager for The Nature Conservancy.
Whether a stakeholder is a fisherman, a scientist, or environmental advocate, each needs to be able to draw on a map the location of marine resources to be preserved," said Will McClintock, Marine Map Director at the UCSB Marine Science Institute.
A couple of days ago, the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution awarded MarineMap the “Innovation in Technology and Environmental Conflict Resolution”.