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The International Coastal Atlas Network (ICAN) aims to be a global reference for the development of coastal web atlases, which we define as:
"...collections of digital maps and datasets with supplementary tables, illustrations, and information that systematically illustrate the coast, oftentimes with cartographic and decision support tools, all of which are accessible via the Internet."
O'Dea et al., 2007, Trans-Atlantic Workshop Report 1
These atlases organize and coordinate all of the above through a single portal or entry point, with a common
design theme that is followed through all of the pages of a coastal atlas web site. As such, many of these
atlases play an important role in informing regional decision- and policy-making across several themes:
- Marine spatial planning
- Climate change impacts, coastal vulnerability
- Coastal governance (boundaries, protected areas, etc.)
- Coastal conservation and protected areas management
- Coastal hazards
- Population pressures
- Resource availability and extraction
Further details about what a coastal web atlas entails may be found in ICAN's handbook, published
in 2011 by IGI-Global publishers.
Via the expertise of its members, ICAN intends to inform, guide and influence in a coherent manner on matters related to research, development and use of coastal web atlases. ICAN is developing several products for this purpose, such as user and developer guides, handbooks and articles on best practices, information on standards and web services, expertise and technical support directories, education, outreach, and funding opportunities, etc. Furthermore, it will encourage and help facilitate global operational interoperability between coastal atlases in order to enhance data and information sharing among users.
Goals and Objectives:
The long-term strategic goal of ICAN is to encourage and help facilitate the development of digital atlases of the global coast based on the principle of distributed, high-quality data and information. These atlases can be local, regional, national and international in scale. This can be achieved by sharing knowledge and experience among atlas developers in order to find common solutions for coastal web atlas development whilst ensuring maximum relevance and added value for the users. In some cases users may be significantly involved in atlas development itself. In order to reach this goal ICAN has the following objectives:
- Ensure that ICAN has representation from coastal web atlas development and user groups from across the world.
- Develop technical and policy guidelines to assist coastal web atlas developers in acquiring data and engaging with data providers. Accordingly, collate and publish a set of best-practise guidelines for the development of coastal web atlases.
- Highlight the benefits of interoperability and standards based systems to the coastal atlas developer communities.
- Develop collaborative projects for the sharing of know-how, implementation of technical solutions and demonstration of atlas benefits to users.
- Align the atlas efforts of the Network partners in order that interoperability can be facilitated.
- Engage with other relevant international projects and developments.
- Involve representatives of the relevant user communities to help in tailoring coastal web atlases to their needs.
To further these objectives ICAN has identified a range of activities in the areas of technical implementation, atlas assessment, outreach, training, and participation in scholarly communities, and strategic planning and funding.
See our ICAN Poster!
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Thanks to Kathrin Kopke, CMRC, Ireland and Kathy Belpaeme, Co-ordination Centre for ICZM, Belgium
See related sections on ICAN People, Organizational Partners, and Benefits