Wisconsin, USA

Wisconsin, USA

David Hart (University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute, USA)
Copyright: © 2011 |Pages: 11
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61520-815-9.ch009
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Abstract

Simply stated, a coastal web atlas (CWA) is a means of organizing, presenting, and sharing spatial data for the coast. Once in place, a CWA can function as a coastal spatial data infrastructure and a platform for developing coastal management decision support tools. While Wisconsin has been actively applying geospatial technologies to coastal issues since 1994, development of a CWA is in its infancy. Wisconsin Sea Grant has learned much about key components of a CWA during the past decade through its role leading four coastal spatial data integration projects. Several technical and institutional issues surfaced as the projects moved from discovery, acquisition, and integration of spatial data from multiple sources to analyze regional coastal issues to the development of interoperable web mapping services and spatial data catalogs. These issues are associated with the following research topics: web portal design and evaluation, choosing appropriate web mapping technologies, GIS cartography, domain spatial data infrastructures, geospatial data archives, and spatial ontologies. Building the Wisconsin Coastal Atlas will provide insight on these important research topics.
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Wisconsin Coastal Gis Applications Project (1994-2009)

Since 1994, the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute has actively supported the application of geospatial technologies to better understand coastal issues facing the Great Lakes. The Wisconsin Coastal GIS Applications Project, a collaborative project between University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) Sea Grant and the Land Information and Computer Graphics Facility at UW, was the vision of Allen H. Miller, then Assistant Director for Outreach at UW Sea Grant and a pioneer in the modernization of land records in Wisconsin. An important mission of the project was to leverage the sizeable investment in local government land information systems in Wisconsin (over $160 million since 1991) to support decision-making about Great Lakes coastal management.

The project has passed through several phases since its inception (see Figure 1). The first phase focused on the use of GIS “teaching models” to address specific coastal issues in specific places, such as shoreland zoning, coastal erosion, floodplain management, and water quality (Rink et al., 1998). The models were used in numerous workshops and classes, translated into on-line GIS tutorials, and disseminated to thousands worldwide. The second phase examined the use of GIS for integrated coastal management – moving from specific local issues to complex regional issues. This phase included an early demonstration of how digital parcel mapping, tax assessment databases, and other spatial data could be acquired from local governments and aggregated to support regional-scale analysis and mapping (Hart, 2000). The third phase explored the use of GIS for “dynamic and distributed” coastal management. The result was a system where custodians, whether they be local, regional, state, federal, academic, or non-profit entities, maintain and provide access to the most current spatial data and multiple remote users can access and integrate data in real-time from multiple sources. The fourth phase showed the value of visualization and virtual globe tools to promote a more intuitive understanding of coastal issues (Stone et al., in press).

Figure 1.

The four phases of the Wisconsin coastal GIS applications project

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Lessons Learned From Four Coastal Data Integration Projects

The following section explores four data integration efforts undertaken as components of the broader Wisconsin Coastal GIS Applications Project and examines the issues and obstacles faced as one moves from discovery, acquisition, integration, and analysis of spatial data from multiple sources to the development of interoperable web mapping services and spatial data catalogs.

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