Using Technology to Ignite Public Support for Marine Protected Areas
From Rich Spencer
How do you tell the story of a faraway place that’s out in the middle of the ocean? Our mission is to ignite public support for a network of marine protected areas through ecologically important places called Hope Spots, and we’ve reliably turned to Esri’s tools to be the driving factor that brings the ocean to the world in approachable yet thrilling ways. Across scientific fields, there can be a knowledge gap between individuals who live face-first in the information and those who want to learn more and understand what they can do. Esri helps us close that gap. Our Esri-powered 3D map allows the public to explore each Hope Spot by starting at its pin, where a pop-up opens to introduce you to that unique pocket of the world and what its Champions are doing to protect it. Each pop-up invites the user to explore a library of photos, videos and documents for the Hope Spot. Additionally, StoryMaps allow us to creatively bring the user underneath the water's surface with interactive slideshows, maps, videos and more that tell the story of local conservation, exciting discoveries and each Hope Spot's beautiful marine wildlife. We are currently creating a Hope Spot Directory that would allow the Champions and the general public to connect with one another – a necessary tool to build bridges between marine communities, NGOs and our partners to share knowledge and resources.