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A sea view

By [email protected] - 23rd April 2015 - 14:18

The marine community is one of the few thematic geodata communities to develop SDI concepts and programmes identifying specific marine information needs, challenges and benefits. Unfortunately, in many cases, the marine SDI work has not been aligned or integrated with land-based SDI developments, as the latter were typically driven by topographic mapping and/or cadastre agencies. These actors had little regard for, or understanding of, marine information needs, even at coastlines, let alone farther out to sea. Thus, identifying marine SDI needs and benefits has usually been missing from NSDI developments, globally.â©

An additional challenge is the number of disparate âmarineâ communities, including the offshore navigation community comprising mainly national hydrographic offices, the remit of which extends principally to safe navigation, and multiple research and marine economic communities, including the coastal zone planners and managers, aquaculture, fisheries (near shore and offshore), and energy exploration and production. Perhaps this is one reason that âMarine SDIâ was a theme rarely visited, with a few exceptions (see below), at national level.â©

Australian Marine SDI developmentsâ©

USA Coastal SDIâ©

The vision of the US Marine and Coastal NSDI is that current and accurate geospatial coastal and ocean data will be readily available to contribute locally, nationally, and globally to economic growth, environmental quality and stability, and social progress. Today, NOAAâs DigitalCoast is one of the most-used resources in the US coastal management community.â©

Canadian Marine GDIâ©

Marine Use Requirements for Geospatial Data

Marine SDI work in Canada now focuses on marine cadastre within the national SDI programme, GeoConnections, and development of the Arctic SDI, which involves many nations with Arctic connections. Important work in eastern Canada is led by the Coastal and Ocean Information Network Atlantic, a hub for coastal and ocean information in Atlantic Canada for the Atlantic Coastal Zone Information Steering Committee.â©

Global Marine SDIâ©

Another working group under IRCC is the Capacity Building Sub-Committee (CBSC), the remit of which is to support regional hydrographic commissions in assessing the need for and delivering training programmes in the areas of hydrography and marine cartography. Traditionally, these areas have focussed on publishing a range of information products dealing mainly with navigation as required by the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea. More recently, however, the CBSCâs remit has expanded to include courses on geographical information management and SDI. This is not only seen as essential in supporting the wider uses of hydrographic data, and hence the broader remit of HOs, but also in helping to develop the knowledge and technologies required for e-navigation. â©

IHO S-100â©

Consequently, the goal for S-100 is to support a wide variety of hydrographic-related digital data sources, products, and customers, including imagery and gridded data, 3D and time-varying data, and new applications that go beyond the scope of traditional hydrography, such as high-density bathymetry, seafloor classification and marine GIS. S-100 compliant data sources will also enable the use of web-based services for acquiring, processing, analysing, accessing, and presenting data. Thus, the series of data specifications being developed under the S-100 framework will be key to helping implement a global Marine SDI that extends beyond traditional navigation, supporting the work of numerous agencies involved in a wide range of marine themes.â©

Roger Longhorn is secretary-general of the GSDI Association, expert contributor to the IHO MSDI WG and former editor of GeoConnexion International. Mike Osborne is a founding member and expert contributor to the IHO MSDI WG and managing director of OceanWise (

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