SeaSketch's aim is to enable participatory marine spatial planning processes through the collective capture, presentation and analysis of relevant science and information.
SeaSketch is being used around the globe in small agency teams and large community-driven initiatives to support and make better management decisions.
SeaSketch is a standalone piece of software developed by researchers and software developers at the University of California with initial funding from the New Zealand Department of Conservation. As a tool it enables the user to explore a large range of perspectives throughout the marine spatial planning process.
SeaSketch can be configured to support both large participatory projects, or small group exercises. A key aspect of this piece of software is its ease of use. It’s aimed to be utilised by planners, stakeholders and the public throughout the planning process, not just by GIS professionals. This ease of use means that in the development of marine spatial plan, collaboration can occur with multi-sector inputs as well as community and iwi engagement.
SeaSketch is a web-based software tool with a primary focus on coastal and marine spatial planning. Planning occurs over a base map or satellite imagery included in the software starting as simple sketching to outline spatial extents of existing marine uses, boundaries of regulations or planning proposals. It includes the potential to incorporate a higher understanding of planning using built-in reports which allow the user to explore that potential consequences of each design (i.e. does this plan meet certain science or policy guidelines?).
Outside of single user planning applications, SeaSketch has powerful interpersonal uses including discussion forums and surveys. Discussion forums allow collaboration between users including real time chat, sharing of plans - which include maps, map annotations and alterations to planning. Opinion surveys are also a powerful component of this spatial planning tool that engages the community. Project administrators are able to collect information from participants in surveys and then make them available to the public.
Steps of MSP process where SeaSketch is commonly used
SeaSketch is a powerful tool which can serves different functions in different steps of the marine spatial planning (MSP) process, and can be used by different types of users. In a typical MSP process, three main user groups are engaged with the SeaSketch tool, although individual users may be included in more than one of these groups:
These user groups will engage with SeaSketch at various steps within the MSP process. Key steps of the MSP process include:
How to apply and what sort of results it provides?
As users sketch areas of interest on a map, SeaSketch will provide analytical feedback about the area within seconds. These reports can identify information such as types and percentage of habitats included in the sketch, and potential social or economic costs and benefits, e.g. what biodiversity, social, cultural and economic values are found in the area I have drawn?
There are simple licensing options and opportunities for training, custom development work, and spatial data hosting. See the SeaSketch Home page for more information: https://www.seasketch.org/home.html
|State of Development||Released and updated|
|Outcome Areas||Environmental, Social|
|Intended End Users||
|Spatial Resolutions||10-100m, 100-500m|
|Spatial Extents||Local (i.e. Catchment or District), Regional|
|Steady State or Dynamic||Steady State|
|Level of Integration||Environmental, Social|
|Key Input Data||Land Cover , habitats, site of importance|
|Input Data Formats||GIS compatible files data entered through GUI|
|Output Data Formats||Image File(s), GIS Compatible Files, Text File(s)|
|Open/Closed Source||Closed Source|
|Licence Type||charge a standard US$1,000.00 license fee and an hourly rate for services|
|Operating Systems||MS Windows, Mac OS X|
|Software Needed||Web Browser|
|User Interface||Graphical desktop|
|Ease of Use||Easy - Easy to flow web browser interface powered by ESRI mapping|
|Use in Policy Process||Plan (Policy Formulation), Review (Issue Identification)|
SeaSketch - Training Manual (2014)
|Users Forum||Blog available on SeaSketch website|
|Analytical Techniques||GIS, Scenario Planning|
SeaSketch - Website
The SeaSketch Platform: Tools for Decision-Support and Managing Public Processes - Online Video
Raewyn Peart (2017): A ‘Sea Change’ in Marine Planning: the development of New Zealand’s first marine spatial plan, Policy Quarterly – Volume 13, Issue 2 – May 2017