The evolving role of Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal in supporting ocean management

Richard G. Lathrop, Tony MacDonald, Kate Morrison, Nick Napoli, Jeanne Herb, Matt Campo, John Bognar, Jim Trimble, Karl Vilacoba, Jennifer Whytlaw, Ryan Hodges

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO) was established in 2009 to enhance the vitality of the region's ocean ecosystem and economy. One of MARCO's first action items was the development of the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal (ODP) to serve as an online platform to engage stakeholders across the region with the objective of improving their understanding of how ocean resources and places are being used, managed, and conserved. A key component is the Marine Planner, an interactive map-based visualization and decision support tool. These types of online tools are becoming increasingly popular means of putting essential data and state-of-the-art visualization technology into the hands of the agencies, industry, community leaders, and stakeholders engaged in ocean management planning. Under the new directives coming from the White House, the future of marine spatial planning is presently in a state of flux. However, even under a new governance structure and new emphasis on economic uses, the need to understand who is doing what where in the ocean isn't going away. Feedback received from a recent series of state level trainings suggest that the portal is now 'ready for prime time' to inform policy and decision-making as well as engagement with stakeholders. The Mid-Atlantic ODP has successfully incorporated a number of best practices, namely: 1) accommodating a diverse user group; 2) stakeholder data vetting and review; 3) integration with the planning effort; 4) and data that is seen as objective, comprehensive, up-to-date and regionally consistent. There continues to be a high degree of interest among the MARCO states to apply the ODP as a means to break down silos among decision-makers, to facilitate a step back and to enable a 'big picture' of their ocean and the potential implications of coastal decisions and policies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationOCEANS 2018 MTS/IEEE Charleston, OCEAN 2018
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781538648148
StatePublished - Jan 7 2019
EventOCEANS 2018 MTS/IEEE Charleston, OCEANS 2018 - Charleston, United States
Duration: Oct 22 2018Oct 25 2018

Publication series

NameOCEANS 2018 MTS/IEEE Charleston, OCEAN 2018


ConferenceOCEANS 2018 MTS/IEEE Charleston, OCEANS 2018
Country/TerritoryUnited States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Oceanography


  • Geographic information systems (GIS)
  • Marine spatial data infrastructure
  • Marine spatial planning
  • Spatial data access and sharing
  • WebGIS


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