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Marine Cadastre Approach

Enabling Users to Develop Solutions

MarineCadastre.gov is designed to help people easily find, integrate, and explore data that previously were difficult to obtain and use. Government agencies can use marine cadastre to identify areas that are not suitable for energy development, and all participants in marine planning can use data to find solutions that meet multiple management objectives.

User-friendly Technology

This project facilitates coordination among multiple federal agencies and many other groups, such as maritime industries, state agencies, elected and appointed marine cadastre was developed with a user-friendly interface, it is easily accessible on the Web, and it operates in a standard Web browser. It is easy to begin using with no technical expertise.

Providing Authoritative and Trusted Data for Multi-Objective Planning

A close-up view of some of the seafloor habitat data that are included in MarineCadastre.gov.

A close-up view of some of the seafloor habitat data that are included in MarineCadastre.gov.

MarineCadastre.gov contains data such as maritime boundaries, limits, and marine protected areas, and some regionally specific data. Originally, it included only authoritative data, meaning that the data are provided by a government source with legal authority or mandate to develop or manage data for a specific purpose. Examples include the mapping information for the U.S. exclusive economic zone, oil and gas leases, and national marine sanctuaries. Authoritative data are essential for marine planning, and marine cadastre is unique in providing so many types of authoritative data. For some aspects of marine planning, however, authoritative data do not exist. Data on seafloor (benthic) habitats in the U.S., for example, are not available over large, regional areas from an authoritative source but are needed for multi-objective marine planning.

Addressing this need, The Nature Conservancy worked closely with the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to plan and begin the process of incorporating non-authoritative, trusted data into marine cadastre. Trusted data are selected, reliable data sets from organizations that publish data derived from authoritative sources. Data may be deemed trusted and included in marine cadastre when a rigorous process exists for compiling the data from authoritative sources, and the limitations, currency, and attributes are known and documented. Inclusion of trusted data will increase the project’s utility as a tool for multi-objective planning.

As the first set of trusted data to be integrated into marine cadastre, The Nature Conservancy is contributing data on seafloor habitats from its Northwest Atlantic Marine Ecoregional Assessment in the eastern United States. These data will help to build data catalog on marine habitats and biodiversity and to support multi-objective marine planning. This effort represents the beginning of a long-term process to incorporate trusted data into the marine cadastre.