Informing Ocean Planning Efforts with Authoritative Data

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Regional efforts in ocean governance help guide important decisions that affect economic, environmental, security, and social and cultural interests. Participants in these efforts have realized the need to compile relevant federal, state, and local geospatial information to inform planning, and regions across the country are developing portals to provide access to data and maps. However, compiling and providing access to multiple sources of spatial data takes great time and effort.


The regions have hosted numerous meetings to discuss important marine planning issues and the information needed to address those issues. Representatives from joined the data requirements sessions and focused in on finding and providing data to meet the regional needs. is a joint Bureau of Ocean Energy Management and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration initiative that provides authoritative data to meet the needs of the offshore energy and marine planning communities. It provides access to data from multiple agencies, including offshore boundaries and physical, biological, ocean use, and cultural information. A number of regions, including the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal and Northeast Ocean Data Portal, are able to directly integrate federal data that are produced, maintained, and made available through


This example of federal‒regional data sharing ensures the greatest reuse of federal data and promotes digital-government strategies by providing access to the most authoritative and current information. For the regional groups, it reduces the time and costs associated with collecting and processing spatial data needed for regional marine planning.

Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal showing offshore boundaries made available through