Photo Courtesy of Alaska Ocean Observing System The new portla launched by AOOS, Monday, April 7, provideds interactive maps, which can be layered to show corresponding data sets.

Photo Courtesy of Alaska Ocean Observing System The new portla launched by AOOS, Monday, April 7, provideds interactive maps, which can be layered to show corresponding data sets.

New portal provides digital look at Alaska’s coast

  • By Kelly Sullivan
  • Thursday, April 10, 2014 10:04pm
  • News

Planning for the weather forecast, tidal movements and a look at the resident wildlife on a new kayak route just became possible — before even leaving the driveway.

Anyone can virtually travel the coast of the Kenai Peninsula using the Alaska Ocean Observing System’s new comprehensive portal called the “Ocean Data Explorer.”

The aim is to provide information in a single interface for personal or professional interest in the Alaska regions oceans, said Darcy Dugan, AOOS Program Manager, from coastal managers and planners to industry or conservation to recreationists and the public. The website contains layers of data from more than 500 statewide organizations.

“We wanted to create a one-stop shop for coastal and marine data,” Dugan said. “Our goal is to have as comprehensive data as possible, while keeping it simple enough that the average person is not intimidated.”

One of 11 regional observing branches of the national organization, Integrated Ocean Observing System, or IOOS, AOOS covers more coastline than all other IOOS organizations combined, Dugan said.

When a user first opens up the portal, they can chose from three maritime regions, the Arctic, Bering Sea and the Gulf of Alaska. Local organizations such as Kachemak Bay Research Reserve in Homer, Gulf Watch Alaska based out of Homer, and Cook Inlet Regional Citizens Advisory Council (CIRCAC) based in Kenai contributed information.

Many portals offer video tutorials. The Cook Inlet ShoreZone Imagery application offers photographs and aerial video visually documenting the regions beaches.

“Several hundred real-time and terrestrial sensors are located in the Gulf of Alaska region so users can view information from weather stations, stream gauges, buoys and webcams,” Dugan said.

Tammy Neher, Science Coordinator at Gulf Watch Alaska, said the portal offers an affordable way to publish research, under the supervision of more advanced developer.

AOOS is even adapting new tools for Gulf Watch’s biologically and ecologically focused data, Neher said; AOOS is used to displaying single-variable, sensor-driven information, she said.

Susan Saupe, Director of Science and Research at CIRCAC said it has been working with AOOS for nearly four years.

CIRCAC is an example of how the structure for a major set of data can be applied on a smaller sample and provide an approach for gathering necessary information to efficiently handle an environmental problem such as an oil spill, Saupe said.

The AOOS portal provides access to multiple types of data such as wind speed, wave flow, and weather conditions, all of which contribute to how CIRCAC would make decisions during a spill response, Saupe said.

Saupe said previously CIRCAC would have to gather paper maps and hard copy reports and piece together tidbits of information. Now they can overlap the interactive maps on the website and see how one piece of data directly relates to another.

A week ago the information could be found, but in very different locations, Dugan said. The portal is the culmination of a decade of work geared toward regional stakeholder, she said.

The majority of funding over the last decade came from National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, or NOAA, and various grants, Dugan said.

Dugan said AOOS plans to update the portal consistently dependent on community feedback and as new research is available.

Kelly Sullivan can be reached at Kelly.Sullivan@peninsulaclarion.com.

More in News

Bradley Walters leads the pack up Angle Hill on Wednesday, July 18, 2018, at the Salmon Run Series at Tsalteshi Trails. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Summer races kick off at Tsalteshi

The annual Salmon Run Series 5K races start on July 6 and continue every Wednesday through Aug. 3

Central Emergency Services staff wait to receive doses of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine on Friday, Dec. 18, 2020, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly mulls bond for new CES fire station

Replacement of the current station is estimated to cost $16.5 million

Buldozers sit outside of the former Kenai Bowling Alley on Thursday, June 23, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Old Kenai bowling alley comes down

The business closed in 2015

Landslide debris surrounds part of Lowell Point Road on Friday, June 3, 2022, in Seward, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly looks to mitigate future Lowell Point Road dangers

Assembly members approved legislation supporting agencies working to address the “repetitive hazards”

The Alaska Department of Health And Social Services building in Juneau has no visible signs indicating the department is splitting into two agencies as of Friday. Top officials at the department said many of the changes, both physical and in services, are likely weeks and in some cases months away. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
Little sign of big change for DHSS

No commissioner at new department, other Department of Health and Social Services changes may take months

Nate Rochon cleans fish after dipnetting in the Kasilof River, on June 25, 2019, in Kasilof, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
King closures continue; Kasilof dipnet opens Saturday

The early-run Kenai River king sport fishery remains closed, and fishing for kings of any size is prohibited

An "Al Gross for Congress" sign sits near the driveway to Gross’ home in Anchorage, Alaska, on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, after he announced plans to withdraw from the U.S. House race. Gross has given little explanation in two statements for why he is ending his campaign, and a woman who answered the door at the Gross home asked a reporter to leave the property. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen)
Alaska judge rules Sweeney won’t advance to special election

JUNEAU — A state court judge ruled Friday that Alaska elections officials… Continue reading

Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion 
Soldotna City Manager Stephanie Queen listens to a presentation from Alaska Communications during a meeting of the Soldotna City Council on Wednesday, March 9, 2022 in Soldotna, Alaska.
ACS pilots fiber program in certain peninsula neighborhoods

The fiber to the home service will make available the fastest internet home speeds on the peninsula

Most Read