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Visualization solutions advance wind energy development

This article appears in the issue July/August 2013, [Vol 22, Issue 7]
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A cadastre is a listing of properties that defines the boundaries of each parcel of land, but the Marine Cadastre extends beyond that definition. Christine Taylor, project manager at BOEM, says, "Our cadastre includes an integrated set of legal, property, physical, biological and other information. The maps can be seen through the viewer at the BOEM site, downloaded or linked into the user's own GIS applications." The maps are served using ESRI-based ArcGIS for Server software.

Among the organizations that use the Marine Cadastre are:

  • The Center for GIS at the Georgia Institute of Technology uses the cadastre  for its offshore wind study, as do its partners such as Georgia state environmental authorities and a nonprofit organization that is focused on clean energy.
  • The Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is utilizing it to establish siting criteria on its Tethys data search platform, which is used for wind and water power development.  The laboratory is also using the Marine Cadastre in a study of the potential for use of kelp as a biofuel, to identify areas that are constrained by environmental or policy factors.
  • The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management is using the cadastre to help identify areas that are protected, leased or fall under the Submerged Lands Act. The agency's mapping tool uses data from the Marine Cadastre to support those initiatives.

Working together

The Marine Cadastre was developed through the cooperative efforts of multiple agencies. "The Energy Policy Act of 2005 directed the Secretary of the Interior to work with other agencies, including the U.S. Department of Commerce, the Navy and Coast Guard to develop the mapping initiative," Taylor explains. "An interagency agreement between the NOAA's Coastal Services Center and BOEM specified that BOEM manage the project."

NOAA was already making a considerable amount of mapping data available to the public via Web mapping applications. Other agencies, such as the Coast Guard, collaborated to produce data sets that are useful in developing ocean energy. Taylor says, "Wind farms should not be located near shipping lanes, for example, which is why we provided shipping lane data, and we also include automatic identification system (AIS) data from the Coast Guard about where ships travel."

If the site that owns the data provides Web mapping services, the map is automatically updated. If not, provides the Web mapping service (WMS), which converts the data into map images that can be displayed in Web mapping applications. Different WMS layers can be combined to form composite images based on user layer selections.

In the near future, will be releasing a mash-up viewer tool so that people can create their own maps using the Marine map layers by simply choosing the layers from a list, framing their own area, and manipulating the layer organization, symbols and other elements. "This will increase the versatility of the cadastre and allow users to personalize their information," says Taylor. 

Energy-saving effort pairs BPM with ridesharing

Vanpooling reduces transportation expenses for the average commuter by 50 to 75 percent over driving solo, and provides time for reading or resting. In addition, it takes many vehicles off the road, saving fuel and reducing pollution. Enterprise Holdings, parent company to Enterprise, Alamo, and National car rental companies, wanted to extend into the corporate vanpool market. To foster efficiency and quality service, the company wanted to coordinate its vanpool operations with a business process management (BPM) solution.

Enterprise Holdings selected the worksocial platform from Appian, which offers a BPM solution that includes business social, mobile capability and cloud deployment. The Enterprise website uses Appian's platform to manage functions such as customer on-boarding, driver registration and rate approvals. Employees of Enterprise Holdings also use it to access information. The mobile capability allows sales staff to complete customer transactions from the field and managers to carry out business operations using any mobile device.

The Appian worksocial platform enables communication within the context of work processes. "Social software is typically good at creating awareness," says Matt Calkins, chairman and CEO of Appian, "but often lacks a direct connection to work. The discussion should happen in the environment where work is taking place." In the Enterprise Holdings application, employees can access details about information shown in the social information stream, to obtain contract rates or details about vehicles, for example.

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