Richard W. Spinrad, Ph.D.: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
Shaping the New Blue Economy with GIS
We live in an era where our understanding and intelligence about the oceans and atmosphere grows more sophisticated every day. Even so, 95% of the ocean remains unexplored, and overfishing, pollution, and climate change threaten the health of this valuable resource. The New Blue Economy is a knowledge-based economy that looks to the sea for more than resource extraction but for data and information to address a vast array of societal challenges and inspire solutions.
Leveraging GIS for the New Blue Economy, NOAA is harnessing the use of ocean mapping, data collection, modeling, prediction, and analysis to realize the potential for individuals, institutions, and organizations to make better choices today and forecast actionable predictions for the future – connecting sea to land to sky.
In this keynote, Dr. Richard Spinrad, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere & NOAA Administrator, illustrates how we can use GIS to demonstrate the value of ocean data, helping us make impact-based decisions as we aspire to solve our economic, environmental, and societal challenges.
The ocean economy accounts for approximately $1.5 trillion (US) in global gross value-added economic activity, and this is expected to double by 2030.
The value of an accurate prediction helps us understand not just where the hurricane will arrive on land or where the harmful algal blooms will appear next, but how these phenomena may affect the economy, the environment and people.
We know less about the ocean floor than we do about the surface of the moon and Mars. Over the past century, new technology has allowed us to collect and understand ocean data, enabling connections between two different geographies to better understand how the events happening in one part of the world inform the events in another.
GIS tools allow NOAA to combine data from the ocean to see how everything is interconnected. GIS enables visualization to observe and analytical workflows to model data.
Oceans and ocean data are rich sources for building markets and protecting resources through conservation and strategic management. From hazard mitigation to shipping lanes and offshore wind energy, fisheries and aquaculture, we can connect data to understand a holistic picture.
Data-driven decision-making and using GIS to leverage the data is what puts the “new” in New Blue Economy.
U.S. fisheries generate over $250 billion dollars in sales per year and support nearly two million jobs. They are a fragile part of our economy, requiring careful management to ensure their long-term sustainability.
NOAA’s advanced modeling capabilities of ocean data allow us to project how the ocean is changing.
Healthy economies depend on a healthy ocean. Ensuring the security of our food and jobs and the durability of our blue economy can be done through ecological forecasting.
NOAA generates nearly 100,000 unique datasets that are being made available as web services through its GeoPlatform and through the Living Atlas, providing a foundation for environmental intelligence.
Having accurate and comprehensive ocean data helps us to create sustainable and economically viable opportunities that can safeguard nature.
Enhanced environmental intelligence helps us make data more actionable and useable for the world we want to see.
This is more than data and tools. It’s about the people, products and partnerships. Through the passion, intellect and experiences of the people working on the solutions, NOAA is making information products (like the Climate Mapping for Resilience and Adaptation) available to everyone.