An EcoSpatial Information Database (ESID, “ee-sid”) has been created to make ecological data for the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) of the U.S. Atlantic coast readily accessible through advanced geographic and content data search techniques. A web Geographic Information System (GIS) application, hosted in the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2®; hereafter referred to as the cloud) was developed to provide broad access to the data and supporting documents. This report describes the processes used to search for, prioritize, and collect literature and datasets, and the development of the geodatabase and web portal that allows the system to be searched.
The ESID was developed by a project team led by AMEC Environment & Infrastructure (AMEC) and included contributors from Atkins (formerly PBS&J), CSA International, Inc. (CSA), Esri®, and GISbiz Inc. The ESID will help BOEM meet requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to support its leasing decisions.
The ESID project area consists of Federal waters within BOEM’s Atlantic OCS Region, which extends from Maine to central Florida (specifically, the North Atlantic, Mid-Atlantic, and South Atlantic Planning Areas). As specified by BOEM, the resources to be included in the literature and dataset searches were geology, water quality, pelagic ecology, and benthic ecology (including infauna/meiofauna, demersal fishes, coral and hardbottom communities, and seagrass). The project team conducted extensive searches of literature and datasets to incorporate into the ESID. The team developed a unique search protocol to identify and scientifically screen over 27,000 scientific papers and environmental reports, and approximately 10,000 web links to identify scientific datasets. During the prioritization process, it was determined that 2,717 documents and 391 web links (a total of 3,101 resources, spanning years 1884–2010) were relevant to the ESID. These resources were then geospatially referenced and included in the system. A rigorous Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) program was implemented on all levels of the project to validate the process and the results.
The cloud-based ESID Web Application allows users to search by content and location, view citations and abstracts, export bibliographic entries, view and download documents that are not subject to copyright restrictions, print map views, identify mapped features, and upload additional resources (subject to system administrator approval). The system is designed to accommodate virtually unlimited expansion with any type of resource file on any subject for any geographic area.