WASHINGTON, Feb. 3, 2016 - To close the data and communication gaps between regulatory agencies that could delay the permitting process, Georgia Tech's Center for Geographic Information Systems and Strategic Energy Institute partnered with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Coastal Resources Division to launch a new marine spatial planning tool. The tool, called the Georgia Coastal and Marine Planner (GCAMP), aims to define a clear process for offshore energy licensing and permitting in Georgia.

Development of the abundant natural wind and ocean resources on Georgia’s coastline has progressed slowly, in part because state and federal laws regarding the use of coastal waters for offshore energy development are still evolving and no structure is currently in place for local and state permitting.

"Offshore projects often involve areas of significant jurisdictional overlap," says Mary Hallisey Hunt, director of research and business operations for the Strategic Energy Institute. "GCAMP provides easily accessible and understandable baseline information by which potential stakeholders can make informed decisions about the suitability and economic viability of potential sites for offshore development."

Sponsored through a five-year grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), GCAMP creates a central repository for public data and information relating to Georgia's coastline. The application provides industry, government agencies and research institutions engaged in the planning and management of Georgia's ocean resources with tools and interactive maps to aid in the assessment of potential locations for offshore development. Tony Giarrusso, associate director of Georgia Tech's Center for Geographic Information Systems, says GCAMP was designed for user ease and flexibility. “We've put a lot of thought into the data and its potential uses and have created a comprehensive yet manageable tool that could be useful to many other recreational and commercial industries beyond energy."

NOAA's Office for Coastal Management provides a case study as an educational resource on Digital Coast, an online community providing tools, training and information for coastal management professionals.


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