Contributing to an existing mapping website
There are numerous projects and organisations that currently support internet mapping. If you have limited resources but want to publicise your mapping data, perhaps the simplest option available to you is to contribute your maps to an existing mapping website. This will certainly save time and money otherwise needed to build your own internet mapping solution, but you will sacrifice a certain amount of control about how the data will appear online. One of the most challenging parts of the process is to first disentangle a complex web of local, national and international websites dedicated to display of marine mapping data, in order to decide which is most appropriate for your data. The decision will depend on practical issues such as whether existing websites are willing to receive data from other organisations, what types of data they specialise in, and what formats they require. When contributing to existing mapping websites, the organisations responsible for the mapping data may ask you to supply data in a particular format. For example, habitat maps contributed to the MESH webGIS are supplied in a Data Exchange Format (DEF) to make the process of compiling maps more efficient. Websites will also require you to submit metadata to describe the data you are supplying. You should also consider the profile and longevity of potential websites. How well-known are existing websites in the marine mapping community? Do they have plans for maintenance into the future?

All material variously copyrighted by MESH project partners 2004-2010

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