By Sarah Carr
In our first blog, we reported on the tools that appear to be used most often for Marine Spatial Planning (e.g. GIS, Marxan, MarineMap, and SeaSketch). But our respondents who reported using tools (91 of the 124 total respondents) also named a vast array of other tools that are being used, or have been used, in MSP processes.
In this installment, we characterize and give examples of these “other tools” (tools reported as being used by one or two respondents) because they form a treasure trove of information and inspiration for MSP projects which are beginning to look at tools.
Like the tools that are used most often for MSP, many of the “other tools” are broadly applicable software or web-based applications, meaning they can be used in a wide variety of geographies and can often be used to help answer a range of questions. Some uses of these “other tools” include data discovery and integration, modeling ecological and socioeconomic processes, decision support, visualization, and stakeholder engagement in MSP processes. Examples of these tools include:
- C-Plan Conservation Planning System
- Criterium DecisionPlus
- Ecopath with Ecosim (including Ecospace)
- Global Map of Human Impacts to Marine Ecosystems
- Habitat Priority Planner
- Marine Planner tools built on the Madrona platform
- MaRS (Marine Resource System)
- MIDAS (Marine Integrated Decision Analysis System)
- Multipurpose Marine Cadastre
- NatureServe Vista
In addition to the broadly-applicable tools above, many regional web-based data discovery and integration, visualization, and analysis platforms are also being used in MSP processes. These tools typically provide less analytical functionality than the broader tools above. They are generally easier for end users to utilize, however, because they are already tailored to a specific geography (and sometimes a particular planning process) with appropriate data and analyses. Examples of these regional tools include:
- Arctic ERMA
- Cook Inlet Response Tool
- Ecosystem Indicator Partnership Tools
- OCOF (Our Coast Our Future)
- STAMP (Spatial Tools for Arctic Mapping and Planning)
Other survey respondents said they are using or have used relatively specialized tools such as those below. In many cases, these tools were used in conjunction with other tools (39 of the 91 respondents who reported using tools reported using multiple tools).
- Methods and tools for collecting local and regional expertise: Respondents reported using methods such as Open OceanMap and participatory ocean use mapping as well as hardware such as digital map tables and digital whiteboards.
- Models and analytical tools for specific purposes such as modeling larval transport. Examples of specialized models and analytical tools include DOMAIN, Marine Geospatial Ecology Tools, MaxEnt, SLAMM (Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model), and the Technology Development Index
- Data registries and portals for data discovery. Examples include Coastal and Marine Spatial Planning Data Registry and Data.gov Ocean.
And finally, MSP processes are at their heart still planning processes, and need to utilize many of the same “tools” that have been used in marine conservation and management for decades (or longer). Examples of the tried and true include:
- Aerial photography
- Conducting surveys (including with SurveyMonkey)
- Cost efficiency studies
- Navigational charts
- Speaking and achieving agreements with stakeholders
- Standards and best practices such as Conservation Measures Partnership Open Standards
- Strategic planning
- Weight of evidence methods.
Many of these “tools” are likely used more broadly in MSP processes but were not considered tools by other respondents.