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FINDINGS AND CONCLUSIONS GENERAL FINDINGS · Resources for mapping and research in the EEZ are limited and many decades will be required to adequately document and map the entire EEZ. It is essential to establish priorities by data type and location. · Users of EEZ information have diverse information needs and wide-ranging geographic emphasis~ften site specific. Emphasis on principal uses of data rather than individual users of data is a more manageable approach in these circumstances. · The priority of concerns of the coastal states and territories in relation to present or future uses of their offshore areas are: 1. biological resources (including fisheries), 2. mineral development (including sand and aggregates), 3. environmental assessment (including waste monitoring), 4. oil and gas development, and 5. shoreline management. Of lesser concern are data for geohazards, cables, pipelines, cultural, recreational, ocean energy, and military uses. Because these reports are intended as advice to JOMAR in relation to ongoing mapping and research programs, the focus of attention is on data related to geology, mapping, and bathymetry and on non-living resources. Consequently, living resources (such as fisheries) and biological information are not included in the committee's analysis of priorities for information about the EEZ. DATA TYPE PRIORITIES OF EEZ ACTIVITIES · Priority of data required varies with both type of use and stage of development. Generalizing from the lumped results, the overall priorities were as follows: 1. bathymetry, 2. characterization and distribution of the bottom sediments, 3. seafloor imagery, 15
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16 4. high-resolution seismic profiles, and 5. geophysical data, especially deep seismic profiles. The committee is not prepared to consider questions about allocation of resources for existing or future activities in the EEZ at this time, but has focused its efforts on determining the substantive (rather than quantitative) needs for data. Consequently findings and conclusions refer to the priority need for new categories of data, rather than whether ongoing activities such as bathymetric and seafloor imagery need to be modified. · Sediment sampling and analysis is presently laborious, expensive, and slow. Automated techniques capable of supplying such data would entail substantial reductions in cost and improve standardization of output and should be explored. · Sediment characterization by sampling should be preceded by systematic shallow penetration high- resolution seismic profiling. The samples to be taken then should be collected along a subset of the profiles to permit extrapolation of sediment properties by the relationship of acoustic signature. Conclusion: Based on the state responses and independent committee analysis of information needs, the next systematic emphasis of data gathering should be on bottom sediment characterization (including associated high-resolution near-surface profiling), while ongoing programs on bathymetry and bottom imaging are pursued to satisfactory completion. Although this is a labor-intensive and time-consuming phase of data gathering and analysis, it provides essential ground truth calibration for remote measurement technologies. Strategies for best accomplishing this task, either on a site-specific or regional basis must be further evaluated. GEOGRAPHIC FOCUS OF EEZ ACTIVITIES · The concerns of the coastal states and territories are focused on potential uses for the EEZ that are likely to take place offshore highly populated urban coastal cities and regions. This is particularly true with regard to waste disposal, recreational and cultural uses, and interests in shoreline management and environmental assessment. Oil and gas and hard mineral resources, on the other hand, are found in specific regions of the EEZ related to geologic rather than onshore cultural factors. · These findings lead to three alternative approaches for collecting data: (l) selecting corridors or swaths extending from the shore to the EEZ boundary encompassing areas of expected high-intensity use; (2) assembling data randomly through time at individual sites of special interest; or (3) choosing coast-wise oriented blocks encompassing areas of greatest intensity of state and industry interest. · Since the EEZ mapping and research activities can be viewed as addressing the longer-term objectives and fundamental information needs of the nation, the strategy of assembling a data base solely on site-specific activities is not a sound approach. It would not provide the advantages of consistent, standard data and the more representative coverage provided by the other two approaches. The corridor approach assures a more balanced representation of technical and economic interests, coherence of data, and a systematic publication format. Coast-wise oriented blocks satisfy some of the same benefits as corridors and place emphasis on areas of maximum current interest. However, the coastal focus would not provide for coverage of important, but less popular interests, which extend to the deepwater boundaries of the EEZ. On balance, representative corridors are the preferred approach. Conclusion: While each state or territory prefers a focus on the blocks offshore their particular coastline, the committee must take a broader perspective. From the committee's overall investigations it
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17 concludes that the most effective focus for information gathering activities in the EEZ is on corridor swaths extending from the shoreline to the EEZ boundary as a first priority. DATA MANAGEMENT ISSUES · A fundamental prerequisite to the effective use of limited resources is the definition and implementation of a well thought out and carefully designed data and information system to support the acquisition of new data and the management of existing data. It is imperative that this data system be complete, ranging from data acquisition through distribution to Anti 1l.c~r~ in forms Anti formats Cllit~.~ to their needs. _ _ _ ... . in, _, ~ _ ~ ~ ~ ^^ ^~ V v ~^—__ · ~ · To be efficient, modern information systems practices should be employed in the design of the supporting data and information system. If properly designed, the resulting data system will be modular and employ internationally accepted standards at the interfaces, yielding a flexible and evolvable system that readily supports changes in user needs as well as technology. System changes and evolution will then occur at costs far less than those associated with hardware-dependent designs. · There is a need for improvements in the technical capability to acquire seabed data, given the areal extent of the EEZ and the limited resources for characterizing the seabed. In particular, bathymetric mapping technology at scales useful for the potential applications, needs improvement in swath width for shallow seas. Acoustic imagery in shallow coastal environments also needs technical and data processing improvements. · To ensure that the data system is of utility to the end users, it should be user-transparent. All data should be maintained in digital form and archived and retrievable to all users in various forms and formats ranging from raw through "ridded products. Although processed, interpretive products are useful for most classes of uses, these products should not be the sole form in which these data are made available. This implies that the supporting data and information system should have distribution subfunctions that include (but are not necessarily limited to) geographically-oriented data base management and reformatting functions. · Descriptive information documenting or giving the "pedigree" of the data (such as location, sensor and processing parameters, acquisition time, calibration data, formatting options, etc.) should be appended to an archival data catalog and made available to users. To be of greatest utility, this information should be made available on line by remote users. Conclusion: An issue of high priority for properly establishing a responsive and effective national data program for the EEZ is the definition and implementation of a complete data and information system. This system must support data acquisition, preprocessing, display, distribution, archival, and applications- oriented processing. To be efficient, the requisite system must be user transparent and support change in user requirements and evolution in technology. The development and implementation of this system must be accompanied by investment in requisite sensor technology and in the actual acquisition of data that will "feeds the system.
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Representative terms from entire chapter: