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Spatial Bibliography of Deep-water Exploration and Research in Alaska: an Intra-NOAA Collaboration

The project began in May 2020 and was completed in January 2021

NOAA's Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) and NCCOS partnered to create a publicly available spatial bibliography of Alaska's deep marine waters to support exploration and research in the region. Its purpose is to help identify scientific data and knowledge gaps, as well as unexplored and underexplored areas of Alaska’s deep marine waters. Unlike many bibliographies which are a list of publications, this tool presents documents in an interactive web map, based on location of study.

Map of the geographic regions in Alaska as defined by the NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center management areas. These regions do not reflect OER operational areas or priorities. Image courtesy of the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information. Shapefile available at Alaska Regions (arcgis.com) .

Why We Care

The NOAA Office of Ocean Exploration and Research (OER) and NCCOS partnered to create a publicly available spatial bibliography of Alaska’s deep (>200 m) marine waters.  Its purpose is to help identify scientific data and knowledge gaps, as well as unexplored and underexplored areas, in the Alaska region. This project will help OER identify Alaska exploration and research priorities, as well as support the broader community in other scientific and environmental management goals.

What We Did

Unlike many bibliographies which are lists of publications, this tool presents documents in an interactive web map interface, based on location of study. Other searchable features include academic discipline, data collection methods, and acquired sample types. There are over 300 scientific publications and technical reports included from an annotated bibliography published by the NOAA Central Library.

This tool is the result of strong partnership among several NOAA program offices. The NOAA Central Library provided research services to lead the publication of the annotated bibliography used for the spatial analysis; the NOAA Alaska Fisheries Science Center (AFSC) contributed seminal papers to the bibliography and guidance for regional delineations based on their science and management areas; the NOAA Regional Alaska Team and the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management contributed their local expertise to ensure the bibliography captured essential topics; and the NOAA National Centers for Environmental Information generated GIS shapefiles to develop the geospatial framework used in the tool, based on AFSC guidance.

Once the annotated bibliography and geospatial framework were set, the two were combined into the spatial bibliography. OER synthesized scientific information from the annotated bibliography, and recorded this information in data tables. This information was in turn used by NCCOS to build an ArcGIS geodatabase, joining the spatial framework to the bibliographic data tables, then developing an interactive web map. By leveraging existing expertise, the team was able to create a robust product that would have been much more difficult to do individually.

Benefits of Our Work

The public web-based interactive map and database will help researchers identify scientific data and knowledge gaps, as well as unexplored and underexplored areas, in the Alaska region.  This project will help NOAA’s Office of Ocean Exploration and others identify Alaska research priorities, and support the broader community in reaching scientific and environmental management goals.

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