FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

The OpenChannels website has a lot to offer. As new features and functionality are continually added, we'll help you keep track of everything you can do with OpenChannels on this document. Have a question that's not answered here? Ask us in the comments section below and we'll be sure to add it to the list!

Why the name, OpenChannels?

  1. Open channels of communication mean free and accessible communications among people, such as among the practitioners and stakeholders using services.
  2. In nautical radio, an open channel is one on which conversations are public.
  3. In the context of marine spatial planning, where one of the main purposes of such planning is to disentangle webs of conflicting uses, one result can be orderly and relatively open channels of water where before there was heavy, unplanned traffic.
  4. It's easy to spell, and to pronounce, and we like it! And we hope you do, too!

What are the benefits of creating an OpenChannels user account?

  1. Receive weekly summaries of new content: OpenChannels members have the option of subscribing to the OpenChannels Weekly Update. We'll keep you up-to-date with upcoming events, news, and happenings in the realm of ocean planning and management.
  2. Get new ocean planning literature sent right to your inbox: The weekly OpenChannels Literature Update sends you abstracts of new literature relating to ocean planning and management. We'll keep you up-to-date with peer-reviewed journal articles, reports, theses and dissertations, and newsletters.
  3. You can blog: Want to make regular updates on your institution's ocean planning and management efforts? OpenChannels members can write their own blogs. (Shameless self-promotion is always ok!)
  4. See what's new: Each time you visit OpenChannels, you'll see what content is new and updated since the last time you visited.
  5. Get immediate notifications of new content: As a member, you can subscribe to email notifications for certain groups of content, like news and literature. See below for more information on that.
  6. Choose your time zone: You can configure your local time zone so all dates for events on the site are automatically converted to your time. Why look at US Eastern Time if you're in New Zealand?
  7. Post news: Share news with the OpenChannels community. Find some useful news article on the web? Tell everyone about it - see more below under "I have news! How can I share it with the OpenChannels community?"
  8. And...Easter Eggs. We like to keep some benefits a secret just for fun! We won't tell you what they are, but you'll see them from time to time.

How can I stay up-to-date with the news and information shared on OpenChannels?

This one is easy, and we have several options for you:

  1. Email Notifications. After you're signed in with your OpenChannels user account, look for the blue links with text like "Subscribe to updates of new content of this type." We'll send you a short email update with a summary of the new content and a link to it here on OpenChannels.
  2. Twitter, aka RSS for the young folks. You can follow us @OpenOCTO.
  3. RSS Feeds, aka Twitter without the character limits. Look for the RSS icons in the lower-left corner of various pages (News, Blogs, Literature Library, etc.) to add us to your favorite RSS reader. Please note that Google Chrome doesn't like RSS, so you may want to use Firefox or another browser to subscribe to RSS feeds.

I have news! How can I share it with the OpenChannels community?

Take a look at the "Share Content" menu located just above the OpenChannels logo in the top-left of any page. If you're logged-in with your OpenChannels user account, you'll be able to post a blog entry or share a news story on the site. You can also post a new topic in the discussion forums, or fill out a quick form to tell us about new literature or other content and we'll be sure to credit you as our source.

Help! The website thinks I'm a spammer and/or it won't let me post content.

Sorry about that! We average 15 thousand spam attempts per day on OpenChannels (sometimes over 100,000 attempts!) so our spam filters have to be rather aggressive to keep all that from flooding our site. We go through all new user accounts to weed out the spam-bots. Once we know you're a real, non-spam-variety human being, we mark your account as "verified" - and verified users are not subjected to spam checks. They can also blog, share news, and post jobs on the site. If we haven't made your account a verified account yet, don't worry, we will! It may take up to 48 hours, though. If you need your account verified, send OpenChannels Project Manager, Raye Evrard, an email at raye [at] octogroup.org and she'll make it happen. FYI: It helps us verify you if you have more than just your name and email filled out in your user account profile.



Good day sir:

I am working with the Local Government Unit (LGU) of Bantayan, Cebu, Philippines (Bantayan island) helping the communities establish marine sanctuary. My concern is does the Open Channels website can help me update our marine sanctuary maps of many communities? I can give upload the recent GPS reading of those duly approved marine sanctuaries. We use WGS 84.

I am also a subscriber of the MPA News and MEAM in the past few years which I receive hard copies of the news letters.

Thank you sir.


Hi Ceasar,

We (the OpenChannels Team) doesn't do any mapping. That's not part of our mission. However, one group that may be able to help is the Coastal Conservation and Education Foundation. Dr. Patrick Christie from the University of Washington's School of Marine and Environmental Affairs (where my office is based!) does work in the Philippines (and he's there right now) on MPAs/marine sanctuaries. He may be able to offer some guidance as well. 

-Nick Wehner, OpenChannels Project Manager

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