Hi Everyone,

John Tirpak, science coordinator for the Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks LCC, recently did a blog post about the CPA on the GCPO site.  His post was so great I decided to steal it to share with you all. 

Enjoy!

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On Tuesday, June 19th, staff and partners from the Gulf Coastal Plains & Ozarks, South Atlantic, Appalachian, and Gulf Coast Prairie LCCs participated in a conference call to discuss the development of a Southeast-wide Conservation Planning Atlas (notes are available here).  Amy Keister, GIS Coordinator for the South Atlantic LCC, led the call and provided an overview of the process that guided the review team to recommend piloting this effort with LCMap and DataBasin – the former providing a good content management system while the latter provides a good data viewer.

Currently, the two platforms are only tenuously linked but discussions have been ongoing about unifying these tools into a single system that capitalizes on the best of both.  Our pilot work will help quicken the pace of that integration.  However, we also identified three additional aspects of a successful Conservation Planning Atlas that need to be addressed by this pilot effort:

1. Improved User Experience – many data portals offer user interfaces that are clunky or overly complex.  Amy will be leading a cross-LCC effort working with expected end users from across the Southeast to make an interface that is slick, intuitive, and user-friendly.

2. Advanced Applications Integration – many partners and partnerships have developed and/or are serving geospatial data and applications that need to be integrated into any Conservation Planning Atlas that we develop (e.g., NFHAP assessmentNBCI BRI, etc.).  The challenges in doing this effectively need to be further explored.  John Tirpak will initially be leading this cross-LCC team to ensure these technical challenges can be overcome.

3. Coordination – While we explore these needs independently using different nodes, the ultimate goal of the Conservation Planning Atlas is to provide seamless, heirarchical tool that is seamless across the Southeast (and potentially beyond).  As the groups in the SA and GCPOLCC’s work on solving the above problems and customizing portals to their individual partnerships; Amy Keister, John Tirpak, Rua Mordecai, and Larry Handley will continue to work as a coordination team to ensure these portals remain connected at the regional scale.  

On the call, volunteers were solicited for each team and a healthy response was received.  Nevertheless, each team will benefit from broad partner participation and we need more volunteers to participate in review and customization of these nodes.  If you are interested in serving on a team, please contact John Tirpak (john_tirpak@fws.gov; 337-266-8565) and he will put you in touch with the appropriate team lead.  Those that volunteered already (THANK YOU!) include:

User experience team: Fred Hagaman (LDWF), Raye Nilius (USFWS), Paul Leonard (AppLCC), Amy Keister (USFWS), and Ed Laurent (ABC)

Advanced Applications team: Blair Tirpak (USGS), Nicholas Enwright (USGS), Paul Leonard (AppLCC), Ed Laurent (ABC), Craig Conzelmann (USGS), and Brad Mooney (LDWF).

More to come soon!

-John