View a copy of the statement of work for Gulf GAME
Scope of Work
Since data inventory and integration efforts have already
commenced in Florida, there is a good base from which to expand the
project to include all states in the northern Gulf of Mexico
region. Additionally, scientists and managers from Mexican states
along the Gulf of Mexico will be encouraged to contribute
information to the database, called "the Catalog." Once the
database is fully populated, it will be available as an online
searchable database of data sources and metadata for
use by state and federal agencies in the U.S., and by other
countries that border the Gulf of Mexico.
The search will be hosted on the Priority Habitat Information
System (PHINS) Web site. PHINS is a federal/state partnership
created to support the Gulf of Mexico Alliance (GoMA).
The data inventory will have both a regional and local scope and
will focus on gathering data and mapping coastal habitats
progressing from the estuaries offshore to the edge of the
continental shelf to a depth of 200 meters.
The combination of data in a GIS-compatible database will enable
overlay of diverse information in a way that permits transparent
and intuitive visualization of habitats and other non-living and
living marine resources. In other words, it is possible to stack
layers atop each other which allows researchers to visualize
habitats. Information gaps will be identified and maps produced;
the initial focus being on seagrass beds, identified by the EPA as
being a critical concern. The availability of updated maps gathered
from a spatially organized database can allow rapid access to the
information needed to enhance the understanding and protection of
habitats and their associated marine resources.
In addition, data mining (a technical term used by scientists
for researching) of historical data (e.g., from reports and
publications) and their subsequent inventory using metadata
standards within an organized data management framework will
benefit both researchers and decision makers.
PHASE 1 - Identify and Assess Gulf Habitat Data
Goals: Coordinate the collection of information from state
and federal sources and complete an inventory of existing habitat
data and identify gaps in available information, specifically
focusing on seagrasses. This inventory will identify the data
available and associated metadata. If Federal Geographic Data
Committee (FGDC) compliant metadata are not present, it can be
created through the Metadata Enterprise Resource Management Aid
(MERMAid). Otherwise, the GAME survey can be used to create a
simplified version of metadata known as "metadata lite."
The inventory will focus on identifying data sources, cataloging
the data, and where applicable, obtaining datasets for both
estuarine and marine habitats situated in the coastal zone.
Interim and final products will include: (a) User Needs Assessment;
(b) Inventory of Gulf of Mexico Habitat Data; and (c) Assessment of
Priority Gulf of Mexico Habitat Data Needs.
Phase 1 covers basic data inventory and cataloging and
identification of information gaps with respect to habitat-related
information, specifically targeting seagrasses.
Letters and e-mails are being targeted at those most likely to
have habitat-related data. Meetings and conference presentations
also are planned to help contact those who have the
The primary objectives of Phase 1 include the following:
- Identify the user community for such information and the best
use scenarios by which to serve the data. This User Needs
Assessment will help to strengthen further activities.
- Identify, catalog, and inventory physical, biological,
chemical, geological, and other environmental data and reports
within the boundaries of coastal and marine waters, adjacent
federal waters and coastal lands of the Gulf of Mexico.
Seagrass will be a primary target.
- Conduct a detailed assessment and develop a prioritized list of
datasets that are required to fill specific data gaps, targeting
- Develop a comprehensive data identification strategy to support
all subsequent geospatial data management, storage, and mapping
Efforts will be concentrated on the following activities:
detect/locate, collate, and combine existing data and information
to assess marine habitats and structure. This effort represents the
first step in a major, long-term regional effort to implement new
procedures of ecosystem-based management and governance.
Task 1-Identify relevant spatial, tabular, and
1.1. Examples of spatial information include, but are not limited
• Benthic habitats, including: hard bottom, submerged aquatic
vegetation, and coral reefs.
• Physical marine, including: circulation patterns, salinity,
• Geomorphology, including bathymetry and coastal elevation
(Light Detecting and Ranging (LIDAR), also called laser radar,
where available), bottom structure, and sediment
As part of the survey, work will be conducted with relevant state
and federal agencies, academic institutions, regional observing
systems and recognized regional experts including non-government
organizations and others in the private sector to expand the data
catalog and inventory.
1.2. Manage the advancement of the online survey to determine
locations of preliminary data sources identified in Task 1-1,
including mechanisms to solicit other relevant information sources
not included in the preliminary target list. A formal online survey
has already been created and deployed targeting Florida data.
Target individuals have been identified at state universities and
1.3. Continue the identification and inventory of readily
available GIS and tabular data sets and/or develop active links to
other existing archives as well as near-real-time data streams
according to the project's data management plan; store information
in the GAME Catalog. Develop a plan for acquiring
non-electronic information in the Gulf of Mexico that is desirable
and readily available for data input procedures.
1.4. Complete the design and deployment of an Internet
application to allow searching for information online and to
provide links to digital data and related metadata for use by
researchers, resource managers, and the public. This will include a
strategy to develop live and active links with other databases and
coastal and other observing systems that collect/serve data and
operate permanent data archives.
• List of preliminary data sources
• List of critical data
• Data and information survey form and results
• New Catalog entries
• Upload entries to PHINS via MERMAid
Task 2. Identification of Data Gaps According to
Critical Needs Identified by EPA
Many of the data required for this effort are not immediately
available for a number of reasons, including lack of publication,
proprietary restrictions, formatting or lack of digitization,
therefore, are not available as GIS data layers or even in digital
form. Further, much of the marine environment in the Gulf of Mexico
remains poorly studied and many resources are unmapped. For
these reasons, a considerable initial effort will be devoted to
determining the data gaps according to critical needs identified by
2-1. Assess data and other resource gaps and produce a
prioritized list of information gaps according to critical
2-2. Implement the plan developed in task 1-4 to acquire high
priority non-electronic critical information sources.
• Prioritized list of data/information gaps according to
PHASE II Goals: Create spatial footprints in a GIS
environment to identify information gaps according to critical
Phase 2: As part of the initial Florida effort a standard
metadata format has been established to streamline metadata
development and maintenance at the state, local, and federal
level. This is considered light metadata, suitable for entry
into the catalog and served via the Web portal. This format
is FGDC-compliant and suitable for all data types. Since the
catalog collects location-related information, these datasets can
be viewed via an Internet Map Server (IMS). Data may be accessed
via active links to the holding organizations.
Data layers that are considered essential habitat layers may need
manipulation in order to be used within the IMS or other Web
applications. Some of these data may be in tabular or hard copy
formats. Habitat data sets identified as essential will be
given priority for conversion to digital data. Some data will
reside on client servers and be accessed via Web services or other
links to data sources.
• Maps depicting data gaps according to critical needs
PHASE III Goals - Produce a prototype Web portal to
provide public access to, and delivery of, current and historic
state, federal, and local Gulf of Mexico habitat
Phase 3: A Federal Data Management Group (FDMG) will be
established. This team will comprise state, local, and
federal entities to identify specific requirements for a regional
data management platform and portal. We have standing
Memorandums of Agreement with NOAA, USGS, and the National Park
Service (NPS) and are contributing members of several committees
within the Coastal Ocean Observing Systems network and other state
and federal councils. This project will support the Florida Ocean
and Coastal Resources Council in its efforts to create a Resource
Assessment and a Research Review.
A data management platform and IMS will provide access and
delivery of existing state, local and federal data.
As needed, work can be produced with federal and state partners to
provide training on data management to Gulf state agencies and as
well as GIS and metadata training to state and local managers in
the five Gulf states. It is expected that this inventory and
data delivery system will be user friendly and aimed toward non-GIS
users such as natural resource managers at all levels of
government. An IMS can be built or existing portals can be used,
such as the PHINS for the Gulf of Mexico being developed by USGS,
USACE (U.S. Army Core of Engineers), and NOAA, or the USGS
Geospatial One-Stop portal.
The IMS will act as a data portal facilitating the creation of
customized online spatial footprints, and provide access to
downloadable geospatial datasets (e.g., shapefiles, habitat grids),
documents, and in some cases raw data containing GIS-compatible
coordinates (e.g., latitude/longitude). The IMS will have
web-searchable directories to facilitate easy access to geospatial
data and information.
• Updated Internet Map Service (IMS)