Portland, Oregon – (July 16, 2014) – Esri, the world’s leading Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software company is honoring the West Coast Governor’s Alliance (WCGA) with a Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) award for the West Coast Ocean Data Portal (http://portal.westcoastoceans.org/). Developed and designed by Point 97 and its parent organization Ecotrust, the portal informs alliance members on the region’s priorities around ocean use, such as tracking sources and patterns of marine debris, adaptation to sea-level rise, and understanding the impacts of acidification of coastal waters.
“The Esri SAG Award is given to user sites around the world in recognition of outstanding work with GIS technology. The West Coast Ocean Data Portal stood out from 100,000 others and will help showcase the WCGA’s contributions in GIS to the global community,” said Jack Dangermond, Esri President, in the announcement. Representatives from the WCGA will receive the award at Esri’s Annual User Conference during today’s award ceremony.
Supported by National Ocean Policy, the WCGA is one of nine U.S. coastal regions currently engaged in voluntary ocean planning, and one of four Ocean Data Portals developed by Point 97.
Point 97 portals are designed to meet a region’s specific needs by combining the best-available data along with a repository of resources, and Point 97’s sophisticated data visualization tool, Marine Planner (http://bit.ly/MarinePlanner). This complete decision support platform offers ocean managers, industry, and community leaders the tools to easily illustrate their specific use cases and drive greater collaboration among diverse stakeholders. “Our work in delivering platform technologies that generate beneficial impact to social and environmental challenges underscores the importance of collaborative partnerships,” states Point 97’s Co-Founder and Managing Director Charles Steinback.
In partnership with the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO), a five-state governor-led planning body, Point 97 and partners at Monmouth University, The Nature Conservancy, and Rutgers University designed a portal (http://portal.midatlanticocean.org/portal) to support regional ocean planning. The region is home to five major ports, a $500 million commercial fishing industry, $25 billion in tourism and coastal recreation annually, and emerging offshore energy development, but also finds itself increasingly vulnerable to catastrophic storms like Hurricane Sandy. The portal provides a single access point for all ocean stakeholders to learn, explore and visualize regional data in a clean, user-friendly interface.
Point 97 also worked with the Governors’ South Atlantic Alliance (GSAA) to develop a Coast and Ocean Portal (www.gsaaportal.org/portal) with a team of academic, state, NGO, and federal partners from North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, and Florida. Like other regions, the Southeast Atlantic is faced with multiple competing ocean-use priorities, and also has a pressing need to address coastal erosion. In order to maintain and grow tourism, provide local enjoyment and protect investments, local communities are working to restock beach sediment to counter increasing coastal erosion. To assess the impact of these efforts, the GSAA needed to bring together data on ideal habitat for shorebirds and sea turtles as well as hard bottom habitat, sediment types, and state jurisdiction boundaries.
Future portal work takes Point 97 to the Caribbean Sea to partner with the Caribbean Regional Ocean Partnership (CROP) — a collaboration between the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. CROP aims to develop a planning framework for fostering healthy communities, ecosystems, and economies while lessening ocean-use conflicts.
Launched in January 2014, the West Coast Ocean Data Portal (http://portal.westcoastoceans.org) is a collaborative project involving dozens of state and federal agencies, organizations, and tribes from the West Coast. The next phase of the Alliance’s work will use data from the portal to identify sources and sinks of marine debris to monitor baseline debris accumulation, prioritize cleanup activities, and provide quantifiable evidence to advocate for prevention and reduction policies.
About Point 97
Point 97 is a high-tech subsidiary of Ecotrust, delivering impact technology solutions and engagement strategies for coastal and marine planning in regions around the world. Working to improve marine and coastal management practices, Point 97 helps partners and clients strengthen coastal communities and ocean ecosystems, bridge different ocean user perspectives and implement management decisions in an inclusive and transparent way. Learn more at pointnineseven.com.