NOAA wants to hear from you on ocean and coastal mapping topics

There are three opportunities in the coming month to provide input to NOAA on its navigation services and the future implementation of national ocean and coastal mapping strategies, development of standard ocean mapping protocols, and precision marine navigation. 

1.) Hydrographic Services Review Panel public meeting, September 23-24, 2020

NOAA Hydrographic Services Review Panel (HSRP) Federal Advisory Committee (FAC) virtual public meeting, September 23 – 24, 2020, will focus on two ocean and coastal mapping strategies. The HSRP addresses broad issues related to NOS’s navigation services portfolio and concerns – including areas such as marine transportation, safe navigation, commercial shipping, ocean and coastal stewardship including restoration, coastal and marine spatial planning, geospatial data, recreational boating, lidar, coastal and shoreline mapping, emerging Arctic priorities, tides and currents, and related topics. 

Public comments are encouraged via email in advance by September 15 on the topics of the HSRP and especially on the development of implementation plans for the two ocean and coastal mapping strategies. The comments will be shared with the HSRP members and become part of the public record. Please email letters and comments to:  Register, view the agenda, or email your advance letter or comment.

National Ocean Mapping, Exploration, and Characterization strategy (NOMEC) and Alaska Coastal Mapping Strategy (ACMS) public comment period for HSRP meeting

Public comments are requested on the development of implementation plans for two ocean and coastal mapping strategies by September 15, 2020. Comments for both will be considered by the HSRP for their meeting. The NOMEC comments forwarded to the NOMEC Council, which will also host other public events to inform the NOMEC Implementation Plan. The ACMS comments will be shared with the Alaska Mapping Executive Committee and State of Alaska. Review the Federal Register Notice and the following two mapping strategies for details:

  • A National Strategy for Mapping, Exploring, and Characterizing the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone, June 2020 (including Section 1.2 – Develop an Implementation Plan for the National Strategy and Section 2.1 – Develop a standard ocean mapping strategy). The strategy’s goals are to coordinate interagency exploration, mapping and characterization activities and resources, develop and mature new and emerging science and mapping technologies, and build partnerships beyond federal agencies, to map, explore, and characterize the U.S. EEZ. An interagency task force directed by the U.S. Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ) and co-chaired by NOAA representatives developed this strategy.
  • A Strategy for Mapping the Arctic and Sub-Arctic Shoreline and Nearshore of Alaska, June 2020. The Strategy’s goals are to build on existing mapping partnerships to meet Alaska’s coastal mapping needs, expand coastal data collection to deliver the priority geospatial products stakeholders require, leverage innovation in mapping technology development, and conduct strategic communications to promote widespread stakeholder engagement. NOAA, the State of Alaska, and the Alaska Mapping Executive Committee drafted this strategy. 

2.) Precision Marine Navigation program annual workshop, September 30 – October 1, 2020

Precision Marine Navigation is the ability of a vessel to safely and efficiently navigate within U.S. waters and operate in close proximity to the seafloor, narrow channels, or other hazards. NOAA’s Precision Marine Navigation program supports a one-stop-shop for marine navigation data, including forecasts, real-time observations, warnings/advisories, and high resolution bathymetry.

The Precision Marine Navigation program welcomes you to virtually attend its second annual workshop September 30 – October 1, 2020. The workshop will provide a progress update on the program, demonstrate a new prototype dissemination system and surface forecast data, as well as host discussion sessions with partners and users across the navigation community. Register and view the agenda.

3.) Standard Ocean Mapping Protocol (SOMP) symposium, October 6-7, 2020

Join the Interagency Working Group on Ocean and Coastal Mapping (IWG-OCM) in a public symposium to develop the Standard Ocean Mapping Protocol as noted in the NOMEC Strategy in Section 2.1.  This SOMP symposium gives non-federal stakeholders an opportunity to learn about the protocol and provide written or verbal comment on it. Academia, private sector, state/local government, and non-governmental organizations are invited to register to attend or speak at the symposium, and/or comment in writing. 

The SOMP is intended to guide all participants (federal, state, non-governmental) in mapping data acquisitions and processing to ensure the widest access to, and use of, the data, minimize duplication of effort, and efficiently collect, process, and publish as much data as possible into archives and databases. The SOMP will be a multi-system mapping operations document with an initial focus on ocean mapping 40 meters and deeper. SOMP-recommended standards, specifications and/or best practices are intended to improve communication, reduce costs, and prevent unnecessary or repetitive work.

This protocol will include strategic guidance for:

  • Timelines and protocols for data management and availability
  • Bathymetry data
  • Seabed backscatter acoustic imagery
  • Water column backscatter
  • Side scan sonar imagery
  • Sub bottom profiling
  • Magnetometer data

Register or comment. Email with questions. 

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