Ocean GIS

Esri Chief Scientist Dawn Wright, and Will McClintock and Chad Burt of the University of California, Santa Barbara, discuss and demonstrate the efforts made in ocean GIS with SeaSketch, a new web-based solution.

Jul 23rd, 2012

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00:01The next person I want to introduce to you joined Esri last year.

00:06She is now our chief scientist.

00:09Her name is Dawn Wright.

00:11She is a geographer and an oceanographer.

00:16She is a wonderful person, and she's going to share what she's doing at Esri in terms of pushing us towards the blue stuff.

00:24Dawn Wright.

00:26Thanks, Jack. Thanks so much, Jack.

00:34Well, for many of us, when we think about the oceans, it's a situation of out of sight, out of mind.

00:42We see only the surface...think only of vast expanses of lifeless water, not realizing all of the complexities at play.

00:51But in fact, the oceans provide over half the oxygen that we breathe.

00:55They regulate all of our weather patterns, they feed us, they provide for our energy and economy...

01:01...so in reality, the oceans are vital to all of us, no matter where we live.

01:08This year, there have been many stories in the news about the estimated one and a half million tons of debris...

01:13...headed to the US and Canadian west coast now from last year's Japanese tsunami, as you can see from the simulation above.

01:21The pictures below show some of the debris already washed ashore in Oregon, Washington, and Alaska...

01:28...and one of the big surprises here has been the sheer number of living sea creatures attached to these debris...

01:34...some of which are invasive and could devastate local populations.

01:40Indeed, the issue of marine debris is one of many challenges facing the ocean today. 00:01:45

01:50...but our mission now is to take what we've learned on land and apply GIS more effectively to the oceans.

01:58But this is hard.

01:59It's a hard mission, because the oceans present to us some very challenging three- and four-dimensional problems.

02:07They're very hard to access at full depth, from the sea surface down to the seafloor.

02:13Satellites and lidar, for example, can't see all the way though the water in all places, so as a result...

02:19...only 5 to 10 percent of the oceans are mapped in the same level of detail as on land.

02:26But this mission is totally within our grasp.

02:29As we know of GIS on land, we build upon the foundation of topography, and in the oceans, it's bathymetry.

02:38The Esri Ocean Basemap project continues to use the world's most authoritative bathymetry...

02:44...as contributed by the international hydrographic and scientific communities.

02:49And we're adding new, high-resolution data all the time, as you can see from the boxes here...

02:54...and we very much welcome new contributions, such as these data, from offshore of New York City...

03:00...contributed by our friends at NOAA.

03:03This is, in fact, the undersea equivalent of our Community Maps Program.

03:10We also have new GIS tools, such as ArcGIS for Maritime at 10.1, which helps us to update our Ocean Basemap...

03:18...to integrate, merge, manage, share, our data--our bathymetry; to make sure our bathymetry is fully functioning...

03:28...with the new tools and data models that we're creating; to connect with the water column as well...

03:35...and to create more accurate nautical charts.

03:40There's further hope in the growth of ocean science with GIS.

03:45These labs and agencies, for instance, are showing the way, via their terrific work throughout the Atlantic Ocean...

03:52...analyzing plant and animal species diversity and distribution, developing numerical models of ocean currents...

03:59...and predicting where coastal erosion will occur.

04:04In the western Pacific, GIS analyses of the ocean floor have helped to discover over 50 new undersea volcanoes and rift zones...

04:13...in this very geologically active part of the world, where major earthquakes and tsunamis have caused great devastation.

04:21And in the Arctic, where global warming is occurring here, two and a half times faster than other parts of the world...

04:28...the interests of oil and gas, shipping, fisheries, tourism, conservation, and international politics...

04:35...are all being very carefully analyzed with GIS.

04:39And many of these groups are working together to best deal with oil spills that could occur both on and under the ice...

04:48...something that we're still totally unprepared for.

04:53Esri is supporting the University of California at Santa Barbara in building a new approach to marine spatial planning...

05:00...based on the concepts of geodesign that you just heard about.

05:04This is a great web-based solution called SeaSketch, and it leverages the ArcGIS API for JavaScript, ArcGIS Online...

05:13...and the Esri Ocean Basemap.

05:16And it'll soon be used for ocean planning in New Zealand, the Galapagos Islands, the Cook Islands, and many other parts of the world.

05:24So we'd like to show it to you now, and it's my great pleasure to introduce Will McClintock...

05:29...the project director of SeaSketch, and Chad Burt, the lead developer of SeaSketch. 00:05:35

05:43Thank you, Dawn.

05:45Out in the Santa Barbara channel near where I live, there's a whole bunch of things going on.

05:50This is an area that's rich in biodiversity and recreational opportunities.

05:55We've got offshore oil and gas facilities, major shipping lanes and ports...

06:00...and we have marine protected areas around ecosystems that are often described as the Galapagos of North America.

06:07But my friends at the Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary have pointed out that sometimes ships run into whales...

06:15...and for endangered species like the blue whale, this is a real problem.

06:19Obviously, nobody wants to kill blue whales, and one simple solution might be to move the shipping lane...

06:24...from the center of the Santa Barbara channel to the back side of the Channel Islands, where there are fewer whales.

06:30Problem there is that we'd be sending ships though a military test fire range...

06:35...and we might be costing shipping industries significantly more in travel time.

06:40So, to find a creative solution to this problem, we'd like to include as many people as possible in this discussion.

06:49The challenge there, of course, is it can be difficult to get all the people affected by this decision into the same room at the same time...

06:56...looking at the same information; so we've designed SeaSketch to allow people to collaborate remotely.

07:04And to demonstrate this, I'm going to post a message to a forum and invite folks to join me in the design of a new shipping lane.

07:16And when I post this message, it's going to include a bookmark to my map and my active data layers.

07:22I'd like to work with Chad, who's all the way on the other side of the stage here, but he could be anywhere in the world...

07:27...and we're going to work collaboratively, so I'd like to bring up his screen, too.

07:33Thanks, Will. I'll just find that topic in the discussion forum and click on the map bookmark.

07:40And this is going to activate those layers that Will was looking at, so we're looking at the same view of the information.

07:45I can then use those layers as a reference, while using the sketching tools to digitize a new shipping route.

07:52I'll try to avoid those areas where blue whales are most commonly seen...

07:57...and SeaSketch is going to transform my simple input into a ship traffic separation scheme.

08:04It will also guide me through entering in any necessary attributes.

08:09With that saved to my account, it's easy to take my design and attach it to a reply in the forum.

08:17And with this reply, I can easily share my ideas with Will.

08:21Great. I can see Chad's design, and I can also run a report that's going to tell me...

08:27...how well we've done at reducing the probability of blue whale strikes.

08:30That part looks pretty good, but there's a problem here.

08:33His proposal overlaps the safety area around an oil platform.

08:38This kind of real-time feedback is central to the process of geodesign, as we've just heard.

08:44What I'd like to do now is improve on Chad's design a little bit by copying it...

08:48...and then editing the geometry so that we miss those oil platforms, hopefully.

08:57And when I'm done, I'm going to rename it, call it Will's Design, save it back to my account...

09:04...and share it with Chad so that he can use it further.

09:15And there's Will's design on my screen.

09:18So what have we done here?

09:19We've just collaboratively designed two alternative shipping lanes and performed geospatial analysis...

09:25...to see how those prospective plans might impact blue whales and the shipping industry.

09:31I can pull up the reports for both of our designs, and see that we're working toward a better solution.

09:38We can take this same collaborative geodesign approach and apply it to all other activities in the channel...

09:43...to plan for fishing, aquaculture, military activities, and energy extraction.

09:48The process works great at a small scale, like we've just demonstrated here, but more importantly...

09:53...we can scale it up, to support many stakeholder organizations and thousands of users...

09:57...by reaching all their collective knowledge in the decision-making process.

10:01We're really excited about the real-time features of SeaSketch, because it'll allow those same users to collaborate remotely...

10:07...as if they're all sitting around the same table, looking at the same maps, designs, and reports.

10:13So does collaborative geodesign really work?

10:17Can we really involve thousands of individuals and organizations in the collaborative design of new marine spatial plans?

10:24Absolutely. California has a brand new set of marine protected areas that were designed by hundreds of organizations...

10:32...and individuals in California using collaborative geodesign technology.

10:36So now we're excited to bring SeaSketch and geodesign to oceans around the world. 00:10:41

10:44Thanks so much, Will and Chad.

10:50Thanks so much, Will and Chad.

10:51Well, we can't wait to see what's next. This is going to be awesome.

10:57Now across the entire Esri organization, we have a new Oceans GIS Initiative, and this includes a comprehensive strategic plan...

11:05...that you can read, a new oceans maritime resource center, and as you can see on the screen...

11:11...we're working with a growing list of terrific partners.

11:15So now is the time, people!

11:17Now is the time for all of us to work together using geography as a platform...

11:22...to save and care for the life of our oceans for future generations to come.

11:27Let's do this! Thanks so much. Jack, back to you.

11:32Yeah, let's do it! Thank you, Dawn, thank you.

11:37Isn't she great? I mean...amazing.

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