Esri's Ocean GIS Initiative

GIS technology, which has long provided effective solutions to the integration, visualization, and analysis of information about land, is now being similarly applied to oceans. Our ability to measure change in the oceans (including open ocean, nearshore, and coast) is increasing, not only because of improved measuring devices and scientific techniques, but also because new GIS technology is aiding us in better understanding this dynamic environment. This domain has progressed from applications that merely collect and display data to complex simulation, modeling, and new research methods and concepts.

Marine Data Sources

As a company with the mission to inspire and enable people to positively impact their future through a deeper, geographic, understanding of the changing world around them, Esri recognizes that this understanding must involve a strong commitment to the oceans.

The Esri Oceans GIS Initiative has been motivated in great part by the need to provide effective mapping tools and techniques to respond to recent disasters such as the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico and the Tohoku-Oki earthquake and tsunami in Japan. It is also motivated by a sincere desire to assist in the implementation of the US National Ocean Policy, particularly in the area of coastal and marine spatial planning (CMSP), for which GIS provides a crucial decision-support engine.

As part of this initiative, Esri is expanding from an initial emphasis on nautical chart production and applications for commercial shipping, maritime defense/intelligence, and offshore energy (e.g., oil and gas, wind energy) to ocean science and resource management. Esri is pursuing a greater engagement with the ocean science community, as complex ocean science questions and ocean science data are increasingly used to inform the responsible use and governance of the oceans, as well as effective management and conservation. This engagement includes official memberships in the Consortium for Ocean Leadership and the World Ocean Council, as well as a new partnership with Global Oceans.

To support a better understanding of our oceans, Esri is focused on improving and expanding our products, tools, services, partnerships, and connections with the broader ocean community. Some of the strategies we will be pursuing towards this goal include:

  • Grow the Ocean Basemap

  • Build a More Integrated Elevation Service

  • Provide Intelligent Bathymetry in the Cloud

  • Grow Ocean Use Planning Tools

  • Expand the ArcGIS for Oceans Resource Center

  • Convene an Oceans Summit

  • Update and Support the Arc Marine Data Model

  • Develop Vertical, Time-dependent Data Transformations

  • Improve Support for Multidimensional Data and Analyses

  • Support Ocean Numerical Models

Free e-book download

Click here to download a free e-book with full details about the initiative.