The Wisconsin-Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary has been proposed along the western shore of Lake Michigan between the cities of Two-Rivers and Port Washington, Wisconsin. Much of the proposed sanctuary and rest of Lake Michigan were mapped prior to 1950 and therefore suffer from multiple deficiencies by today’s standards. New technologies can efficiently provide more accurate and finely resolved depths, and characterize the lakebed. However, the proposed sanctuary is a vast area covering greater than 1,000 sq. miles and the entire area cannot be mapped in a short timeframe. Smaller areas must be prioritized to address the most urgent needs.
To meet this need within the proposed sanctuary, we developed a systematic quantitative approach and online application to gather mapping priorities from researchers and managers spanning a diversity of fields. The application standardized inputs into a GIS framework that enabled us to identify groups of individuals with shared interests depending on their area of expertise, the types of mapping products that they need, the rationale used to justify their needs, and of course the locations that they prioritize for lakebed mapping. The online application (https://maps.coastalscience.noaa.gov/wilm/) was customized for the proposed sanctuary using guidance from a Technical Advisory Team and displayed the present status of lakebed maps, and locations of natural and cultural resources.