You are here

Introducing the International Coastal Atlas Network

TitleIntroducing the International Coastal Atlas Network
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsTaylor, K, Wright, D, Dwyer, E, Haddad, T, O’Dea, E, Hart, D, LaVoi, T
Conference NameAmerican Fisheries Society 141st Annual Meeting, Advances in Coastal Atlases, Habitat Mapping, and Habitat Assessment Science to Support Fisheries and Ecosystem Decisions
Date Published04/09/2011
PublisherAmerican Fisheries Society
Conference LocationSeattle, WA, USA
Keywordscoastal atlas, coastal informatics, coastal web atlas, data access, decision-making tools, information management, metadata, regional governance, semantic interoperability, spatial data infrastructure, web GIS

Over recent years, there has been significant development of national and regional coastal atlases based on web-enabled geographic information systems (GIS). These coastal web atlases (CWAs) are of great value to coastal decision makers, scientists and the general public. They can help users keep pace with changes in data quality and availability, associated information technologies, coastal landscapes/seascapes, vulnerabilities of coastal communities, and more. While multiple benefits are derived from these tailor-made atlases (e.g., speedy access to multiple sources of coastal data and information; targeted tools for user needs), the potential exists to derive added value from the integration of neighboring CWAs in order to optimize decision making at a variety of levels and across broader geographical regions. The International Coastal Atlas Network (ICAN: is an informal group of over 30 organizations from over a dozen nations who have been meeting over the past four years to scope and implement data interoperability approaches to CWAs. The mission/strategic aim of ICAN is to leverage the expertise of its members to find common solutions to CWA development. Working together, the members of ICAN share user and developer guides, handbooks and articles on best practices, information on standards and web services, expertise and technical support directories, education, outreach, and funding opportunities. ICAN also seeks to encourage and facilitate global operational interoperability between CWAs in order to enhance data and information sharing among users, and assist in the translation of coastal science to coastal decision-making. The presentation will discuss how ICAN has enabled individual CWAs (i.e., Washington Coastal Atlas, Oregon Coastal Atlas, Wisconsin Coastal Atlas, and others) to begin collaboration with other CWAs in their regions, particularly in terms of priority geographic data, sharing of knowledge and of technology. It will also share results from the most recent ICAN workshop in Oostende, Belgium held in August 2011.