Vision for a Resources Assessment Information Portal

The Oceans and Coastal Resources Council was charged in The Oceans and Coastal Resources Act, 161.70, et seq., Florida Statutes, with creation of a Resource Assessment, "a comprehensive oceans and coastal resource assessment that shall serve as a baseline of information to be used in assisting in its research plan. The Resource Assessment must include:

  • Patterns of use of oceans and coastal resources;
  • Natural resource features, including, but not limited to, habitat, bathymetry, surficial geology, circulation, and tidal currents;
  • The location of current and proposed oceans and coastal research and monitoring infrastructure;
  • Industrial, commercial, coastal observing system, ships, subs, and recreational transit patterns; and
  • Socioeconomic trends of the state's oceans and coastal resources and oceans and coastal economy."

The Oceans Council believes that a well-designed and implemented Resource Assessment, when coupled with a comprehensive Research Program, would provide easily accessible information on which policy makers, resource managers, and the public could base decisions. The Resource Assessment will also highlight where information is lacking, guiding collection efforts.

The Oceans Council considered means to best present this information to researchers and the public, and to maximize its utility to the Council. It recommends to the Legislature a GIS-based application, similar in concept to the Florida Water Atlas but computer-based, interactive, and continually updated from local, state, and federal information sources. The presentation would be based on of a map of Florida and adjacent waters, and be able to display map overlays showing the locations and conditions of the natural and human resources of interest to the user. These map features would be linked to information about them and the entire application made available over the internet.

A local government example of this concept may be viewed at www.sarasota.wateratlas.usf.edu/.

The Resource Assessment will form the core of the Council's Integrated Data Management strategy for handling science data in Florida and the portal for scientists, managers, policy makers and the general public to access those data. It will also be linked to real-time data collection in existing systems such as the Integrated Ocean Observing System.

The Legislature appropriated funds to support creation of the Resource Assessment, which is presently underway. The Council previously produced a sample to provide the Legislature with a feel for the Council’s vision.