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Report of International Coastal Atlas Network Workshop 5: Coastal Atlases as Engines for Coastal & Marine Spatial Planning

TitleReport of International Coastal Atlas Network Workshop 5: Coastal Atlases as Engines for Coastal & Marine Spatial Planning
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsDwyer, N, Kopke, K, Berman, M, Belpaeme, K, O’Dea, L, Haddad, T, Wright, D
Keywordscapacity building, coastal atlas, community of practice, marine spatial planning, SDI

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: From August 31st to November 2nd, 2011, the International Coastal Atlas Network (ICAN) held a workshop on “Coastal Atlases as Engines for Coastal & Marine Spatial Planning”, at the UNESCO IOC/IODE headquarters in Oostende, Belgium. The workshop (aka “ICAN 5”) engaged 43 participants from 15 countries, representing 36 organizations and multiple areas of scientific and technical expertise. This meeting was a follow-up to the successful 2009 workshop on “Formalizing the Network, Engaging the Mediterranean” (aka “ICAN 4”) held in Trieste, Italy, as well as workshops in 2008, 2007 and 2006. ICAN 5 participants discussed the current and future potential of CWAs for coastal and marine spatial planning and explored the subject area in dedicated breakout sessions. A number of opportunities for how CWAs can contribute to the development of CMSP were identified whilst challenges were also highlighted. Other key activities at the workshop included:

  • Presentations from ICAN members who have raised the profile of ICAN via participation in workshops and conferences. Activities from a dozen different events were formally presented. This demonstrates the relevance of, and interest in, CWAs and the reputation that ICAN is garnering as the reference point for CWAs.
  • A number of Atlas developers presented significant updates since ICAN 4, while the Atlas of Scotland, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre’s Environmental Marine Information System and The European Atlas of the Seas were presented for the first time. There are now almost 60 members of ICAN who have formally agreed to ICAN’s Statement of Support.
  • The meeting saw the organisation of a mini workshop on Atlas users. A number of Atlas developers presented on how users are engaged before, during and after initial Atlas developments. The results of a questionnaire which was disseminated to a large number of Atlas developers were presented. The mini workshop concluded that it would be useful for the ICAN developer community to prepare a concise help document on how to engage with the CWA end user.
  • A mini workshop was also organised on Semantic Frameworks and Ontologies and how to connect atlases to the ICAN Catalogue Services for the Web (CSW) Mediator. This provided an opportunity to demonstrate some of the activities and tools developed in the EU funded NETMAR project, that are of relevance in the development of the ICAN interoperability demonstrator ,in particular how an ontology can be constructed and delivered through NERC’s vocabulary server. It also demonstrated a new version of the CSW mediator which uses alternative and more flexible technology that that used in the previous interoperability demonstrator.
    The workshop also saw the official launch of the latest version of De KustAtlas, Belgium’s extremely successful CWA and there was also an opportunity to celebrate the publication in 2010 of the book Coastal Informatics: Web Atlas Design and Implementation. This book is a compendium of experience of many ICAN members and is a must read for anyone contemplating or currently developing a CWA. Since ICAN 5 there have been significant developments with regard to putting ICAN governance on a more stable footing. A decision was taken to request the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) of UNESCO to approve ICAN as an official IODE project. This request was considered and approved at the IOC IODE Officers Meeting in February 2012. Therefore an IODE ICAN Pilot Project has been established. This is a precursor to the establishment of a full IODE ICAN Project which will be proposed to the 22nd session of the IOC Committee on International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE-XXII) in March 2013. The coming months will see the development of a work plan to be presented at that session. ICAN is entering a very exciting period in this new relationship with IODE and we look forward to seeing you at the 6th International workshop (aka ICAN 6) which will be hosted at the University of Victoria, Canada from June 16th to 18th 2013, just before CoastGIS 2013.