Published 04 October 2012 by Scott Fletcher

Version 2 of the Mid-Atlantic Ocean Data Portal recently went public providing new information and tools for comprehensive regional ocean planning by the Mid-Atlantic Regional Council for the Ocean (MARCO).

The MARCO Portal

The landing page and accompanying website detail the priority objectives for the ocean planning process that is taking place in the Mid-Atlantic region. The website and the data viewer are integrally linked with a consistent look and feel as well as various links that allow the user to navigate back and forth between the static pages of the website and the interactive planning tool.

We have categorized the site into three main sections.


The Learn section provides greater detail as to the nature of the various themes used in the portal along with details of each of the datasets themselves.


The Explore section offers users a Data Catalog from which they can download the data in various formats, find the metadata and locate the source provider. The Explore section also details the data needs of the Portal, those datasets that the Portal team is in the process of acquiring, developing, or seeking.


The Visualize section serves as a launching pad for the Marine Planner detailing many of the planner’s aspects and features.

Marine Planner Data Viewer

The Marine Planner is currently serving the MARCO stakeholders as a clean and easy-to-use data viewer. The data layers are grouped into 7 themes presented through an accordion view in the Data Tab (left panel) that includes an autocomplete search feature so the user can easily identify and activate any layer they are wishing to visualize on the map.

Active Layers

Once the user has activated layers of interest, switching to the Active Tab permits the user to adjust the layer ordering on the map through a drag and drop interface, toggle the visibility, and adjust the opacity of the activated layers.

Map Features

From the Map panel the user can toggle between basemaps, expand/contract the map view by hiding/showing the data panel on the left or the legend panel on the right.


The user can create bookmarks of their map view for later viewing or sharing with others.

Fullscreen Map View

And the map offers the ability to view the map in full screen mode. Note: I love this feature. ☺

Next Steps

The next stages of development will include features specific to the decision support needs of the MARCO planning process. Registered users will be offered a spatial filtering feature to help the user identify those areas of the Mid-Atlantic that meet their chosen set of criteria. For these user-generated designs, we will offer site-specific reports and data attribution as well as the ability to privately share designs with other users of the site.

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