The North Coast Cumulative Effects (NC CE) Program is an integrated program between the Marine Plan Partnership for the North Pacific Coast (MaPP) and the North Coast Environmental Stewardship Initiative (ESI). The merging of initiatives arose from a shared goal to develop and fully implement a cumulative effects framework to continuously monitor, assess, and manage the impacts of industrial and non-industrial development on core coastal and marine values in the North Coast. The NC CE program is comprised of representatives from Gitga’at, Gitxaała, Metlakatla, Haisla, Kitselas, and Kitsumkalum First Nations and the Province of British Columbia, with coordination and technical support from the North Coast-Skeena First Nations Stewardship Society.
CRM designed and deployed the North Coast Data Management System (NC DMS) (hereinafter referred to as the ‘data portal’) from the ground up under input and direction from the NC CE project team. The data portal was developed to enable NC CE Program Partners access to a centralized system to contribute, house, aggregate, analyze, and visualize a wide range of cumulative effects and regional monitoring data for core coastal and marine values on the North Coast. The data portal was designed to ensure affordability, flexibility, and scalability that is fully secured through a tiered role-based security model. It is a custom web-based application that capitalizes on open-source frameworks including ASP.NET, Geoserver, Leaflet, and SQL Server Express while leveraging ArcGIS Online (AGOL) and other out-of-the-box web mapping capabilities offered by Esri. Leveraging open-source frameworks enables users to extend beyond the more limiting AGOL platform that is privy to user licensing costs and/or credit-based currency to run out-of-box analytics. Rather, the AGOL environment and associated costs are bypassed by leveraging affordable ‘software as a service’ (SaaS) solutions, including popular reporting tools such as RStudio with Shiny and Microsoft Power BI.
A key intent of this tool is to improve technical collaboration between all project representatives on cumulative effects and the accessibility of collaboratively generated and trusted data and assessments for decision-makers. This will facilitate the evaluation of project proposals and management of cumulative effects on the North Coast. One of the most important DMS considerations for this project is to also provide training opportunities and to build resource capacity within the participating First Nations, who are a critical component for annual field monitoring and field data collection. One of the ways the data portal supports this key consideration is through the development of digital field forms, placing all data entry into the hands of the participating First Nation data technicians.
Through development of the DMS, research was conducted to determine the best technology available and the associated costs. Documentation outlines the decisions made regarding the DMS and the progression into the production phase. Once the DMS was deployed, fully operational, and in production, focus was placed on:
- Developing user manuals to guide data technicians through the data entry process.
- Leading online training sessions and group demonstrations to communicate DMS functionality and all added enhancements.
- Developing video tutorials and documentation, all of which are accessible from within the DMS.