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New Research Planning Map in the Works

RWSC is in the process of developing a web-based map to support offshore wind research planning. The development of the map and initial set of data layers is funded by the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) and is being conducted in collaboration with the Northeast Regional Ocean Council (NROC), Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Ocean (MARCO), and Responsible Offshore Science Alliance (ROSA). The project leverages the considerable expertise and existing infrastructure within NROC and MARCO related to ocean data development and management associated with the regional ocean data portals ( and

The Research Planning Map will display the locations of ongoing offshore wind research activities in U.S. Atlantic waters, including the locations of deployed sensors, survey transects, seafloor mapping footprints, and more. Through a partnership with the Duke Marine Geospatial Ecology Lab, these data and metadata will be hosted on a dedicated RWSC web server and displayed via a public web map. The map will also provide users with access to contextual map layers and data that are available on the regional ocean data portals. (e.g., marine life distribution model outputs, vessel traffic).

Datasets currently under development by RWSC for display in the Research Planning Map include:

  • Locations of deployed long-term/archival hydrophones for passive acoustic monitoring of large whales (this map was developed by the RWSC Marine Mammal Subcommittee and is currently being displayed on the regional ocean data portals).
  • Locations of deployed acoustic telemetry receivers for monitoring fish, sea turtles, and other species with acoustic tags. This layer is being developed in collaboration with ROSA and the Atlantic Cooperative Telemetry (ACT) Network.
  • Locations of boulders relocated during the offshore wind construction process. This layer will leverage data from offshore wind developers who have publicly shared the original and new locations of boulders offshore that have been moved to accommodate turbine, substation, and cable installation activities.
  • Many others: MOTUS antennas that detect tagged birds and bats, aerial survey transects, glider missions, plankton surveys, and more.

Some datasets may first be displayed via the regional ocean data portals when they are complete. The web mapping tool will continue to be developed and will launch before summer 2024. RWSC and ROSA will hold a public webinar to introduce the map.

In addition, RWSC Subcommittees and ROSA Committees are developing recommendations, guidance, and templates for researchers and funders to submit research location data to the map.

RWSC Subcommittees and ROSA Committees will use the map when planning new research and reviewing proposed research plans. We also expect that partners will use them to help plan data collection and research activities that they are funding – to avoid duplication and maximize coverage of data collection activities throughout the region. The map can also be used as a communication tool to show how much data collection and research effort is occurring and being funded with respect to offshore wind.

For more information, or to express interest in contributing data, contact Emily Shumchenia, RWSC Director, and RWSC GIS Project Manager Samantha Coccia-Schillo.