Flying the Ocean Literacy banner
ICAN 8 Coastal Web Atlases workshop & Ocean Teachers Global Academy
by Kathrin Kopke
The International Coastal Atlas Network (ICAN) 8 workshop on September the 12th in Santa Marta, Columbia attracted more than 25 participants from about 20 countries. The ICAN 8 workshop was placed in the context of SDG14 because many of the ICAN resources (Coastal Web Atlases – CWAs) are aiming to raise awareness of our coastal and marine environments while addressing relevant issues like overfishing, ocean acidification, climate change, disaster and risk management, pollution & coastal and marine management.
ICAN CWAs are addressing these issues not only through visualisation of geospatial data and information within an interactive map area, but by actively promoting knowledge about our coasts and oceans through accompanying features such as information boxes, learn features, pictures, graphs and text items. These features provide context and for example allow users to better understand presented geographic information while delivering links to the principles of Ocean Literacy. The IOC/UNESCO Ocean Literacy expert Francesca Santoro set the scene on Ocean Literacy (OL) principles for ICAN 8 and ensured that technical discussions stayed within the OL context. ICAN 8 presentations demonstrated how CWAs can for example advance knowledge and appreciation of the Great Lakes, raise awareness of urban marine ecosystems in Sydney Harbour, communicate risks and impacts of tropical cyclones for coastal communities of the Gulf of Mexico and the western Caribbean Sea or empower local fishing communities in Brazil.
The IODE/IOC Ocean Teachers Global Academy (OTGA) training course on Ocean Literacy and Story Telling Maps took place back to back with ICAN 8 linking both events in a complementary way, which allowed ICAN experts to support the OTGA course as instructors and teachers, while learning from each other. Students from all over South America participated from September 13th till September 15th and worked in teams to produce story maps on coastal and marine issues within an OL context. The course promoted collaborative work and cooperation and facilitated practical use of story mapping technology and as such cultivated networking of course participants across diverse fields of expertise e.g. fisheries, ocean biodiversity or risk and disaster management across South America.
The International Coastal Atlas Network (ICAN) is a community of practice of organizations, who have been meeting since 2006, to share experiences and to find common solutions to Coastal Web Atlas (CWA) development. ICAN is a project of UNESCO IOC´s International Oceanographic Data and Information Exchange (IODE) Programme since 2013 and co-chaired out of MaREI.
The long-term strategic goal of the IODE ICAN (International Coastal Atlas Network) project 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. ICAN aims to achieve this 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.
The International Coastal Atlas Network (ICAN) emerged from a series of trans-Atlantic meetings held in 2006 and 2007 between a group of organisations that shared a common interest in Coastal Web Atlas (CWA) development. The ICAN grew in subsequent years into a community of practice developing best practise examples for technical solutions to CWA development, scoping and implementing data interoperability approaches and exploring end user interaction with CWAs. Since 2006, the network has organised seven workshops across the globe in Europe, North America and Africa and is increasing awareness of opportunities for coastal and marine information sharing through the CWAs, while growing the ICAN community.