Guidebook to Participatory Mapping of Ocean Uses
Understanding ocean use patterns can improve decision-making and planning in the marine environment by contributing vital foundational information. Engaging communities that use the ocean to provide this important foundational information has the added value of linking people to the planning process and building confidence in the results. The participatory mapping method described throughout this guidebook offers a proven approach for practitioners who are looking to make more informed decisions for the marine environment and the communities that depend on healthy marine ecosystems.
In planning a PGIS process, remember that the guidelines set forth in this document are just suggestions and that each process needs to be flexible and molded to best meet local needs. Keep in mind that the power of the process comes through building relationships with the target use community and learning about the history of planning and the hot-button issues that affect the daily lives of workshop participants. Remember that collecting data is one thing, and connecting with people and earning their trust is something entirely different. To successfully capture the data, make time to listen to participants’ perspectives, frustrations, and concerns, and encourage dialogue about often tricky and sensitive topics. Be honest, genuine, and transparent when messaging about the project, and prepare staff members with skills to facilitate communication on often contentious topics and with challenging personalities.
Remember that the communities participating in the workshops will continue on after the project ends. Consider what you are contributing to these participants and how the process can best serve them into the future. Always deliver on what you promise your partners and participants, and deliver it when you promise it.
Lastly, it is important to remember that every place is unique. Lessons learned in one locale, while they can indeed inform the process in another, should be modified to address the unique characteristics of the target community.
For more information, please visit www.marinecadastre.gov/oceanuses.
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