Marine Information Management Systems: A strategy for the management of marine related data

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This report identifies a strategy for the management of marine related data through a system of policies for data and information exchange between users of information concerning the marine environment. These users include departments and agencies involved directly and indirectly with the marine environment at all levels from the data collectors to the politicians capable of making policies which can have some impact on the marine environment. This strategy is proposed through the establishment of a Marine Information Management System or MIMS. In establishing these policies, this report identifies the fact that traditional management of our marine resources has been done on a user and task specific basis which does not allow users to see interactions outside their specific area of interest. Based on addressing the issues and policies identified in this report, more comprehensive management of marine related information and resources is possible. This is achieved through improved communication, and an increased level of awareness of the interactions between users of the marine environment. The report identifies the MIMS as a means of achieving more comprehensive information and resource management. It identifies a number of issues involved in information management such as standardization, data exchange and cost recovery. The proposed MIMS incorporates policies at the resource management level and at the information management level. The work done here shoes that while some minimum hardware configuration may be necessary to achieve its objectives, the MIMS will place more emphasis on the policies required for information exchange. A policy approach to the problem has therefore been taken since these must be addressed before any decision can be made on the actual format and design of the proposed system. While the work done here has been based on research done in Canada, some issues which may apply to other regions such as developing countries are also identified.