Overview of Coastal Atlases

Overview of Coastal Atlases

Dawn J. Wright (Oregon State University, USA), Gabe Sataloff (NOAA Coastal Services Center, USA), Tony LaVoi (NOAA Coastal Services Center, USA), Andrus Meiner (Biodiversity, Spatial Analysis and Scenarios Division, European Environment Agency, Copenhagen, Denmark) and Ronan Uhel (Biodiversity, Spatial Analysis and Scenarios Division, European Environment Agency, Copenhagen, Denmark)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-815-9.ch005


This chapter provides a brief overview of various coastal web atlas projects around the world, providing a contextual bridge to the atlas case studies of Chapters 6-14. A summary of the policy context within which many European atlases operate is followed by a summary of other efforts emerging in Australia, the Western Pacific, Africa, and the Caribbean (as facilitated mainly by the Ocean Data and Information Network of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization’s International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange). Atlas projects in the U.S. are summarized mainly via the results of a recent national survey of coastal managers reporting on the deployment and content of their atlases, with concluding thoughts on where there might be opportunities to develop approaches for a federated coastal atlas of the U.S.
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Overview Of European Union Atlases

Recently a number of important policy decisions and developments have taken place in the European Union (EU) regarding the management of coastal, marine and maritime resources. These will shape the design, functioning and sharing of coastal and marine information services in the coming years, including the design and implementation of CWAs. One critical need is to streamline monitoring and reporting activities that support the production of policy-relevant assessments of the marine and coastal environment, including an emphasis on ecosystem-based management issues. Several activities at the EU level have been initiated and/or further developed in 2007-2009 to prepare the production of regular indicator-based assessments and the delivery of information services over the period 2009 to 2012 in support to new policies adopted by the EU.

Interoperable coastal information systems and useful operational services are becoming of more use to a large community of practitioners and users at the coastal zones across the world. In Europe, this is in particular important in light of the emerging Integrated Maritime Policy (IMP) of the EU, where initiatives such as the web-based European Atlas of the Seas, broad-scale seabed habitat mapping and promotion of maritime spatial planning have prominent roles (European Commission, 2007; Vivero et al. 2007; see also Chapter 16).

A 2008 EU marine environmental law (Marine Strategy Framework Directive or MSFD) aims at applying an ecosystem-based approach to the management of human activities. There is work going on towards the establishment of a limited set of pan-European common indicators for the marine environment by 2010. It should be noted that “pan-European” includes the whole continent from the Urals to Portugal, but at this time only the EU member states will be participating.

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