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A deep thanks again for your participation in, or remote support of, our Esri Ocean GIS Forum last week, which made it among the best ever. Please find for your enjoyment:


A Storify of the many tweets during the event, including some great photos, story maps, and videos;


A Flickr album of photos, thanks to the expert work of Esri photographer Eric Laycock;


My plenary slide deck on Your Knowledge, Our Community, the Ocean’s Resilience, including important web links therein (one with a Dec. 15th deadline);


The Ocean of Story Maps Collection;


Don’t forget that feedback is still welcome on the National Ocean Exploration Forum discussion thread on GeoNet.


Indeed, we hope to see many, if not all of you, in our Ocean Sciences GeoNet online community in order to CONTINUE the discussions and friendships of the past week.


MARK YOUR CALENDARS for November 6-8, 2018 for next year’s Esri Ocean GIS Forum, site to be determined somewhere in southern California!

Just in time for the Esri Ocean Forum, here is an update on some of the content we have been curating for the ocean community.


TopoBathy - The most recent release of TopoBathy had significant improvements in the ocean.  Updates include: GEBCO 2014, BOEM Northern Gulf of Mexico Deepwater Bathymetry GRID from 3D Seismic, NOAA Coastal Relief Models for Southern California, and MH370 (missing Malaysia flight) Phase 1 Data from Geoscience Australia.  Check out this blog for more comprehensive information on the recent TopoBathy release.

HYCOM – A global modeled oceanographic dataset has been updated for the ocean community. The Hybrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) provides a 30-day hind-cast and 7-day forecast (in three-hour time intervals) for use in marine operational planning.  This living dataset contains multiple variables including temperature, salinity and velocity at depth levels ranging from the surface of the ocean to 5,000m water depth.  It can be used to help determine if it is safe to deploy equipment, conduct operations, or plan a route in the ocean space.  Sea surface height is also available through HYCOM. 

HYCOM functionality has been extended through the HYCOM App that helps you visualize and compare the different modeled variables.

HYCOM has been in beta for two releases while we gather feedback from our users about how they use HYCOM data.  If you have feedback on how you use HYCOM or how these layers can be improved please submit your feedback here.


This layer is part of a larger collection of ocean layers that you can use to perform a variety of mapping analysis tasks.  For more information, see the Ocean Layers group on ArcGIS Online.


Don’t forget to check out the existing valuable Ocean content from the Living Atlas of the World.  Nominate your authoritative data to the Living Atlas!


Keep the conversation going with the Ocean Community, ask questions and interact through Ocean Sciences on GeoNet.  


Join us for the Esri Ocean Forum, an annual event for the Ocean GIS Community.

Check out the new Sciences Portal in ArcGIS Online at with some nice introductory material about it already posted by Joseph Kerski and some terrific ocean science content.


And in support of the Group on Earth Observations (GEO) Week and the GEO-XIV Plenary, 23-27 October 2017 in Washington, DC, Esri offer Insights for a Changing World: The Complete Platform for Earth Observation with an assortment of links to spatially intelligent ocean scientific apps and additional landing pages.

As you prepare for the 2017 Esri Ocean GIS Forum, enjoy the keynote from 2016 by Dr. Nick Hedley of SimOn Fraser University: an exploration of how GIS displays can increasingly serve as portals between worlds, by way of virtual 3D coastal atlases and the coupling gaming engines with GIS for augmented reality in support of a host of scientific applications (i.e., not just eye candy, but for rigorous science and decision support, especially for hazards).


Esri Ocean GIS Forum 2016: Keynote Address - YouTube

The Esri Ocean GIS Forum brings together thought leaders from the ocean GIS community in an interactive environment that fosters exploration, collaboration, learning, and innovation.

This year's forum will focus on new, innovative GIS tools and forward-thinking solutions built to provide a deeper understanding of our oceans. When you join your colleagues and Esri subject matter experts at the Esri campus in Redlands, California, on October 31, you will have a front-row seat to shaping the future of ocean and maritime GIS design.

  • Share your ideas and successes with industry colleagues and help shape the future of GIS design through one-on-one collaboration.
  • Learn how GIS serves as a powerful tool for scientific understanding, by improving analyses, insights, efficiencies, communication, and maritime workflows in government and commercial communities.
  • Discover the ways in which multi-dimensional data and web apps can help you put cutting-edge scientific information to work in your organization at Technical Workshops.
  • Learn how to extract more value from your marine and coastal data when it is filtered, analyzed, and viewed on a smart map - producing better informed decisions.
  • Explore and test-drive ArcGIS 10.5 with free, expert-led training at the Hands-On Learning Lab.
  • Attend dynamic presentations from Esri staff, partners, and customers at the Plenary Session, Lightning Talks, and User Presentations.

Return to your campus, organization, or institution with a deeper understanding of how GIS technology serves as a powerful tool in the areas of ocean science research and analysis, ocean use planning, marine resilience management, conservation and restoration, and much more!

You can't afford to miss this unique opportunity to learn proven best practices firsthand from ocean and maritime industry thought leaders, grow your professional network, expand your GIS skill set, and implement new approaches to success in 2017 and beyond!

Don't wait to sign-up. The early-bird registration deadline is August 31, 2017.

Add you content to the new crowdsourcing storymap for Alaska's Best Places. If you have images and stories about Alaska add them here: 

In a prior blog post, I mentioned that for the 2015 Esri Press research monograph Ocean Solutions, Earth Solutions, we encouraged the chapter authors to prepare a story map as another way to communicate their work. The story map is a new Esri medium for sharing not only data, photos, videos, sounds, and maps, but for telling a specific and compelling story by way of that content. This is all done with sophisticated cartographic functionality that does not require advanced training in cartography or GIS. Therefore the beauty of Esri story maps is that, depending on the chosen complexity, they can be built in anywhere from a few minutes to a few days, using the free public accounts and data available within ArcGIS Online. Story maps are essentially applications built from web maps which in turn are built from web-accessible data (including OGC WMS, WFS). With the beauty and utility of underlays such as the Esri Ocean Basemap, as well as a small tsunami of ocean content percolating up through free public accounts on ArcGIS Online, and on premium subscription accounts, it’s no wonder that we are seeing an “ocean” of interesting story maps.

See the January 2015 webinar An Ocean of Story Maps.

A small catalog for your enjoyment is available at An Ocean of Story Maps | ArcGIS Blog

Proceedings and videos of the 2014 Esri Ocean GIS Forum are available at: and

In addition to the excellent papers, maps, apps, and lightning talks presented by over 100 users, the Forum featured:

  • the exciting announcement of the integration of ArcGIS with SciPy, a Python-based ecosystem of open-source software for mathematics, science, and engineering
  • the growing world of Ocean Content (Ocean and Arctic Ocean Basemap)
  • demos of the latest Esri offerings in multi-dimensional visualization and analysis
  • bring science into maritime operations, including Common Operating Picture templates for offshore energy, ports, and defense applications

The Forum also witnessed the start of the Ocean GIS GeoNet community. This is one great way that YOU can speak to us and to each other. Please feel free to join this community now. All you need is your existing Esri Global Account or you can easily create one (free of charge, no sharing to 3rd parties). Please check it out! We look forward to seeing you on GeoNet. Point your browser to and look to the upper right to join.

The 2013 Esri Ocean GIS Forum proceedings are also still available at And stay tuned for the imminent release of the peer-reviewed research monograph Ocean Solutions, Earth Solutions which is based on those 2013 proceedings and in final preparation by Esri Press. It will be out before the 2015 Esri User Conference.

Did you know that Esri offers a method for developers to create custom applications that can support the international standard of S-57, also known as ENCs. If you have ever been asked to create an application and one of the requirements was to render data offshore, then this might help you.


The HydrographicS57Layer is a Runtime class that allows you to visualize ENC data (aka. Electronic Nautical Charts or S-57 data) directly inside the app that you build. This could come in handy when your end user will be working offshore and needs basemap content that the ArcGIS Online Bamemaps cannot provide. When rendering the ENC data you'll benefit from our support of the S-52 symbology standard, meaning it will be similar to what you might see on the bridge of a ship when navigating about the sea.


If you're curious about the HydrographicS57Layer check out more information here on the page. If you are wondering, what is this ENC data I speak of, or where can I even find this kind of data? We have a couple of options for you. In the US, NOAA offers a large number of ENC datasets to download right from their website (for free). In addition, ArcGIS offers a solution that can create ENC data, called ArcGIS for Maritime: Charting. Feel free to check out some of my other posts to see how to create ENC data in ArcGIS.


Check out the quick snapshot I took this morning of a Runtime sample visualizing ENC data below.


Happy Developing!



In the last software release the Maritime Team worked really hard to extend the support of datasets to not only include rasters but also point datasets. Check out the last blog post on Bathymetry.