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Comprehensive and accessible information to support science, policy making and public understanding

28 January 2016

Australia’s northwest marine region is known for both its diversity and its remoteness. However, with increasing anthropogenic pressures within the region, there has been a growing need for accessible environmental and socio-economic information to support decision making. The North West Atlas was created in response to this need, providing comprehensive and accessible information for the greater northwest region.

The North West Atlas provides the infrastructure and tools to promote the free and open exchange of information to support science, policy making and public understanding of the region. These tools include a content management system for science articles and data, a mapping engine for spatial information and social media integration for promotion of content and interaction with a range of stakeholders. The North West Atlas provides a web portal to not only access and share information, but to celebrate and promote the biodiversity, heritage, value, and way of life of the greater northwest region.

Interactive Maps and Spatial Data

Interactive map on the North West Atlas summarising key research findings

 

The North West Atlas has links to a mapping engine used to both manage and visualise spatial data. Both raw data and prepared datasets can be uploaded. Raw data can be accessed and downloaded by researchers and managers to be included in analyses to inform decision making and management. While prepared datasets have been uploaded to provide an interactive summary of key research findings. Examples of prepared datasets include interactive maps for the North West Oceanic Shoals and Rankin and Glomar Shoals summarising these key ecological features.

Research Highlights

Research article summarising the WAMSI Kimberley Marine Research Program

 

Research articles provide an overview of key research undertaken within the region. Article are written for a general audience and summarise key research questions and findings. Articles to date describe current research for the WAMSI Kimberley Marine Research Program, feature outcomes from the Montara Environmental Monitoring Program and summarise the Woodside environmental survey of Rankin and Glomar Shoals. Highlights include exploring the deeper ‘hidden’ coral reefs of the Timor Sea and the finding these reefs, the north west oceanic shoals, support exceptional species richness.

Outreach and Communication

Instagram images providing a brief summary of research highlights

The goal of the North West Atlas is to provide a friendly site to engage all stakeholders including managers, research scientists, government, industry and the general public. The site has links to the blog site, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram, These links provide an avenue to summarise and highlight research targeting different user groups and providing varying levels of scientific and technical detail.


The North West Atlas project builds on the e-Atlas project for the Great Barrier Reef and the Ningaloo Atlas covering Ningaloo World Heritage Area. It is a partnership between government organisations, non-government organisations, researchers, industry, and community groups. Funding for the North West Atlas project has been provided by PTTEP Australasia (a wholly-owned subsidiary of PTTEP, the Thai national petroleum exploration and production company) and the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS).