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Innovative Land Mapping Approach to be Adapted to Marine Environments for Improved Resource Management

Last week, software developer Esri and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) launched a new, international, public and private sector effort to map global ecological marine units (EMUs). The goal of the effort is to develop a statistically robust map of distinct marine environments to support marine spatial planning, resource management, and conservation.

Esri and USGS recently produced a global ecological land units map and now seek to develop a similar resource for marine ecosystems. This work will be done under the GEO (Group on Earth Observation)/GEOSS (Global Earth Observation System of System) commissioned Task (EC-01-C1) to define, standardized, and map all applicable ecosystems for terrestrial, freshwater, and marine domains. The world-wide EMU map will partition the ocean into 1-km by 1-km grids, each with a depth of 50 meters, extending to the ocean floor. This volumetric grid will serve as the spatial organizing unit to compile and analyze physical and chemical data (while attributing biological observations) from the sea surface to the deep ocean floor. A draft EMU map is expected by the end of 2015.

The launch meeting, held in Redlands, CA from February 24 to 27, was attended by an initial scoping group of researchers and software engineers from the private, academic, and public sectors. NCCOS is a member of the project’s steering committee.

For more information, contact Mark.Monaco@noaa.gov.

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Shorter web link for sharing: https://coastalscience.noaa.gov/news/?p=14463