STORMTRACKER 33 — For the first time in 25 years, a new Gulf of Mexico Data Atlas is now available http://gulfatlas.noaa.gov . Based on the idea of a traditional atlas but offered via the Internet by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the new Gulf of Mexico Data Atlas provides answers to questions related to the physical environment, marine resources, and economic activity in the Gulf of Mexico. Published on-line by NOAA’s National Coastal Data Development Center (NCDDC), a division of the National Oceanographic Data Center, this initial release of the pilot version of the atlas has 95 map plates in 31 different subject areas with more planned in 2012.
As plans to restore the Gulf of Mexico after recent disasters have progressed, federal and state agencies have turned to NOAA for data and information about all aspects of the Gulf of Mexico. One of the most requested resources for that data and information has been the "Gulf of Mexico Coastal and Ocean Zones Strategic Assessment Data Atlas" published by NOAA’s National Ocean Service in 1985 as a large hardcopy tabletop book. The new on-line Gulf of Mexico Data Atlas updates and expands that publication. The new Gulf of Mexico Data Atlas provides more than just a map. Each plate has a description, written by recognized subject matter experts, explaining how the data was gathered and how it is relevant. Users can also link directly to the data and to a high resolution image of the original 1985 plate if available.
“Though published by NOAA, the Gulf of Mexico Data Atlas is truly a collaborative effort,” said Russell Beard, Director of NCDDC. “The Atlas has data from federal, state, non-governmental agencies, and academia. We also had representatives from a cross section of those data providers on the Gulf of Mexico Data Atlas Prototype Executive Steering Committee who provided guidance on the plates and the supplementary information.”
The 2011 Atlas pilot is an example of the philosophy of leveraging resources among agencies and activities involved in geospatial data as outlined in the US Department of Interior and Federal Geographic Data Committee “Geospatial Platform Modernization Roadmap v4 – March 2011”. The pilot Gulf of Mexico Data Atlas also supports NOAA’s Next Generation Strategic Plan, the Gulf of Mexico Alliance Action Plan II, and the Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Task Force’s Gulf of Mexico Regional Ecosystem Restoration Strategy.