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NOAA FISHERIES: Office of Science and Technology
Directorate | Fisheries Statistics | Assessment & Monitoring | Economics & Social Analysis | Science Information | Marine EcoSystems

Geographic Information Systems

A Geographic Information System (GIS) is a valuable tool for fisheries science and management. As with any tool, though, one has to understand when and where GIS is the right tool for the job, and how the quality of the raw materials (spatial data) the tool is applied to affects the final work product. With this knowledge, spatial data and GIS can be properly applied to fishery science and management, and this usefulness will increase as ecosystem approaches to management demand a more spatially explicit treatment of the physical and biological components of ecosystems and their interactions.

The goals of the GIS program within the Office of Science and Technology are to:

  • Promote better science through the proper use of GIS tools and spatial data
  • Provide GIS analysis, project consulting and support, and development of cartographic products
  • Transfer GIS technology to other NMFS offices and fishery management agencies through training and outreach
  • Represent NMFS science and management concerns on the NOAA GIS Committee
  • Coordinate NMFS-wide GIS activities with other HQ offices, the regional offices, and science centers

Current Projects


The Office of Science and Technology offers the official two-day ESRI course “Introduction to ArcGIS” at least twice a year in Silver Spring, Maryland. Courses are generally open to all NOAA employees. S&T also offers a third day of hands-on applications specific to fisheries work. If you are interested in taking this course, please contact Tim Haverland.

Research Topics

  • Measurements on maps
  • Spatial resolution of fishery harvest information

Data Sources

Metadata Standards

Metadata Tools


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