Using Survey123 and ArcGIS Online to Address Global Ocean Plastic
The research needed to solve the global problem of ocean plastic is in its early stages. This includes understanding the sources of plastic and solutions to prevent it from reaching the sea. The vast majority of plastic comes from land, and most of that reaches the sea via rivers. Most plastic is not found floating at sea, but stranded on shorelines. Mapping where it ends up is critical to identifying both the sources and solutions to prevent it from reaching the ocean. OpenOceans Global uses Survey123 and ArcGIS Online to populate a map of shorelines fouled by plastic and a tool using ocean currents to help determine the sources of plastic, augmented by data from the Living Atlas. These tools are helpful for easier data entry and visualization of this global problem. Asking the Esri international community to help populate the map would deepen the data set of mapped shorelines and allow those whose shorelines have a common source of plastic (i.e., beach litter, urban runoff, major rivers, fishing gear, etc.) to join together and share solutions. Those solutions could range from technologies for cleanup, recycling, and reuse to joint political action. The tracing tool could be modified by the ocean current community to include stokes drift (wave energy) and wind. Using Esri’s online tools allows shared use of the platform and the data, creating global context and solutions to what appear to be local problems.