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Our Work

Data Sharing for an Eastern Canada Marine Atlas

An online marine atlas is a critical tool for supporting Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) in the Atlantic Canada region. Its ‘purpose’ and the data found in the atlas must be driven by user needs and sound policy and institutional frameworks. The process of developing an online public marine atlas will require significant relationship-building and sustained collaborations to establish and maintain data sharing agreements and processes.

While not without its challenges, the transparency and trust fostered through this process will help reduce conflicts in the marine space, and support the success of the MSP Program and its goals to balance social, environmental and economic objectives in a changing climate.

The ‘Data Sharing for an Atlantic Canada Marine Atlas’ workshop on March 12th and 13th brought people together from across Eastern Canada and across sectors to share their needs and data priorities for an atlas, and discuss barriers and opportunities for contributing data to the upcoming atlas. 

Download the Summary Report

Download the Workshop Discussion Paper

Proposed Atlas Strategic Plan Objectives

Key action recommendations from discussions include the creation of a Strategic Plan for the Atlas, that identifies long and short-term objectives, sets priorities, focuses energy and resources, and helps ensure organizations and governments are working towards common goals. Proposed Atlas Strategic Plan objectives include:  

  • DFO to expedite and resource an inter-regional coordination/governance mechanism led by National Headquarters (NHQ) with strong regional representation to plan and coordinate the atlas platform development

  • DFO to integrate interdepartmental, intergovernmental, and intersectoral needs in the atlas platform design

  • Ensure interoperability of Spatial Data Infrastructure applications across governments

  • Prioritize and select bioregional data layers for publication to Open Data/ Open Maps

  • In addition to marine data associated with habitat, biodiversity and human-use, consider data that supports understanding of interactions between the land and sea and in international waters (Gulf of Maine), as well as socio-economic information that connects offshore areas to coastal communities

  • DFO and CHS to lead the development of online materials and tutorials to support technical aspects of data contributions from partners that are external to the federal government

  • Conduct a study to review legislation, policy, and regulation that encourage or impede data-sharing

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