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Second Biannual Meeting of the Monterey Bay Marine GIS User Group

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The second biannual meeting of the Monterey Bay Marine GIS User Group was held Thursday, July 19, 2012, at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Southwest Fisheries Science Center in Santa Cruz, California. A GIS (geographic information system) is a computer-based system for storing, manipulating, analyzing, and managing all types of geographically referenced information. The goals of this user group are to foster collaboration among academic institutions, the private sector, government agencies, and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in the Monterey Bay marine GIS science community; to facilitate hands-on GIS training; and to increase awareness of marine spatial datasets within the broader GIS science community in the Monterey Bay area.

Nadine Golden, Lisa Wedding, Will McClintock, Melissa Foley, Pat Halpin, and Jason Roberts
Above: Monterey Bay Marine GIS User Group meeting organizers Nadine Golden (USGS; far left) and Lisa Wedding (NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service; far right), along with (left to right) Will McClintock (University of California, Santa Barbara), Melissa Foley (Center for Ocean Solutions), Pat Halpin (Duke University), and Jason Roberts (Duke University). Photograph by Lisa Krigsman, NOAA National Marine Fisheries Service. [larger version]

Approximately 65 members of the coastal and marine community, including GIS users, marine scientists, and policy makers, gathered to hear four presentations that focused on current GIS and scientific research and GIS tools. The keynote speaker, Patrick Halpin, director of the Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab at Duke University,, began the day with a talk titled “Illuminating the Oceans: Using Geospatial Analysis to Better Understand the Marine World.” Halpin discussed the difficulties faced by marine geospatial scientists when dealing with time and space in the open ocean, and he concluded from his own experience that using the right technical tool set can help overcome these challenges.

Next, Will McClintock (University of California, Santa Barbara) introduced the group to recent advancements in SeaSketch, a widely used GIS tool set specifically designed for solving marine geospatial issues. SeaSketch, based on a combination of open-source and Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) technologies, provides a new platform for applying collaborative geodesign software to marine spatial planning. (“Geodesign” is an emerging field that integrates geographic science with spatial design; learn more at http://www.esri.com/technology-topics/geodesign/.) With the help of friends and colleagues in the audience, McClintock demonstrated the decision-support tool under development at the Marine Science Institute of the University of California, Santa Barbara. This platform for collaborative ocean planning allows public participants to contribute their ideas to the marine spatial planning discussions via a web browser and the Internet.

Jason Roberts leads the group through some of the most popular offerings in the MGET suite of more than 300 GIS tools
Above: Jason Roberts (Duke University), Marine Geospatial Ecology Tools (MGET) developer, leads the group through some of the most popular offerings in the MGET suite of more than 300 GIS tools. Photograph by Lisa Jensen, Seafloor Mapping Lab, California State University, Monterey Bay.. [larger version]

After a lunch of networking and socializing, Jason Roberts (Duke University), developer of Marine Geospatial Ecology Tools (MGET), gave an overview of this free, open-source geoprocessing toolbox designed for coastal and marine GIS analysis. MGET can be invoked from most programming languages and includes more than 300 tools designed for and requested by marine researchers.

The closing speaker, Melissa Foley (Center for Ocean Solutions), highlighted a study that assessed the cumulative impact of multiple human activities in Monterey Bay, California. (Learn more about quantifying cumulative impacts at http://www.centerforoceansolutions.org/initiatives/cumulative-impacts.)

The following day, July 20, the Monterey Bay GIS User Group sponsored a predictive modeling MGET workshop at the California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) Chapman Science Academic Center, in Seaside, California. This hands-on workshop, led by Jason Roberts, was attended by 40 GIS professionals and students from the Monterey Bay area and beyond. Roberts led the workshop attendees through an example of predictive modeling using MGET and downloadable datasets. Working through more than 25 steps and tools, participants were able to utilize some of MGET’s most popular features. MGET overview presentation slides from the workshop are posted on the MGET website at http://mgel.env.duke.edu/mget/files/2012/07/MBGIS_July_2012_Online.pptx (about 13 MB). The modeling example reviewed in the daylong workshop will be converted to an online tutorial for posting on the MGET website.

workshop participants take a lunch break
Above: MGET workshop participants take a lunch break at California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB). Photograph by Lisa Jensen, Seafloor Mapping Lab, CSUMB. [larger version]

The Monterey Bay Marine GIS User Group will meet again in spring 2013; details will be posted soon on the NOAA Southwest Fisheries Science Center website. For questions about the Monterey Bay Marine GIS User Group or its meetings, please contact Lisa Wedding at lwedding@ucsc.edu or Nadine Golden at ngolden@usgs.gov.

Related Sound Waves Stories
Inaugural Monterey Bay Marine GIS Users Meeting
Mar. / Apr. 2012

Related Web Sites
Monterey Bay Marine GIS User Group
Sea Sketch
McClintock Lab
Marine Geospatial Ecology Tools
Duke University
Cumulative Impacts
Center for Ocean Solutions

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Biannual Meeting of the Monterey Bay Marine GIS User Group

Staff Coastal and Marine Geology Program Participates in Federal Food Drive

Publications Sea Floor Stress and Sediment Mobility Database

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