Marine Planning
Practical Approaches to Ocean and Coastal Decision-Making

Interactive Decision Support

Multiple-objective planning increasingly relies on interactive decision support systems (DSS) that provide transparency and stakeholder engagement. Interactive DSS can:

“DSS technology must be easy to use by all parties to the planning process.”

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The is a web-based map viewer that shows legal, physical, ecological, and cultural data in a common geographic information system (GIS) framework. Read more...

Coastal Resilience

Coastal Resilience is an online mapping tool that facilitates municipal- and state-level efforts to adapt to coastal flooding and inundation associated with climate change. Read more...


MarineMap allows users to visualize data and draw prospective marine protected areas (MPAs) on a map and to immediately receive an analytical summary of key habitats and species that would be protected. Read more...


Marxan is decision support software for designing new reserve systems, reporting on performance of existing reserve systems, and developing multiple-use zoning plans. Read more...

See Also ...

See the Case Studies section for examples of interactive systems used with other decision support methods in real-world settings. Read more...

Interactive DSS can provide a forum in which decision makers and stakeholders share information and examine alternatives in real time. In the context of multiple-objective planning, interactive DSS are best used for integrating, understanding, and analyzing data and alternative scenarios. Governing bodies must still make difficult decisions among alternative solutions, but these alternatives can be established and understood more quickly and holistically.

Interactive DSS are an important shift away from software programs and models that only address single management objectives and sectors. Interactive DSS also represent a change from closed-door committees and other decision-making methods that may lack the transparency and stakeholder inclusiveness required for successful implementation.


Photo credits: Mike Timberlake; Mark Godfrey/TNC
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