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Phase 1 of the GAME Project

Phase 1 blazed the trail for the mission of the GAME project: To develop spatial frameworks based on Ecoregions, to inform resource management plans for economic growth, resource protection and management practices, to identify areas that should receive added resource protection and areas that are most suitable for public use, to identify data gaps, to facilitate the protection of endangered and critical species habitat, and to inform research on the environmental effects of climate change.

The initial effort included the identification of datasets and other resources that are required to produce preliminary GIS-based maps of Florida’s coastal and marine areas, including Federal waters of the West Florida Shelf, adjacent waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean, South Atlantic Bight, and near-shore coastal areas. The required information consists of a wide variety of disciplines – geographical, physical, chemical, biological, atmospheric, human resource use, and literature sources. It is important to note that the GAME catalog is a ‘metadata lite’ inventory, collecting the ‘who, what, where, when and how’ pertaining to Florida-related research.

To coordinate these efforts, a relational database was created allowing them to be imported into a number of programs including ArcMap. The Steering Committee decided that the GAME catalog should be general in nature and that fields within the catalog should be kept extremely broad to allow the catalog the ability to capture the widest amount of information. The utility of the catalog is that it would allow searching of the entire database and link to data sets of interest. The GAME catalog is an FGDC (Federal Geographic Data Committee) compliant database. This would allow others, including Federal agencies, the ability to import information from the catalog without having to reformat fields to meet standards.

In an effort to develop ecoregions, certain types of data are considered more relevant than others. Based on the available literature regarding the development of ecoregions and guidance from the steering committee, a focus on specific data types was applied to the collection of information to populate the catalog. Benthic habitats (hard bottom, submerged aquatic vegetation, coral reefs), geomorphological (bathymetry, bottom types) and physical (temperature, salinity, currents) data sets were identified as being most important; however, if encountered, all relevant data sets (biological, chemical, physical, geomorphological) were collected without discrimination. 


  • To identify and collect environmental metadata: geomorphological, physical, biological, chemical, geological, atmospheric, and human use information
  • Identify gaps and data needed to fill them
  • Develop a GIS-based map of data set footprints
  • Develop an ecoregion definition plan and present it to stakeholders for public input
  • Develop a plan for Phase 2

A data survey was developed along with an invitation letter to fill in the GAME survey that was sent to targeted scientists, researchers and relevant local/federal agencies. Response to the survey was promising with replies ranging from several agencies and institutions including University of South Florida, Florida State University, The Nature Conservancy, University of Texas, Florida Geological Survey, NOAA-Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory, Water Management Districts, and private consultant companies.

The survey was created to be short and general with an aim to solicit numerous responses. A follow up phone call to the individuals submitting the information was required to obtain the rest of the information needed for the catalog.


Data Discovery and Acquisition
Data Types:

  • Physical marine data: circulation patterns, salinity, temperature
  • Geomorphology: bathymetry and coastal elevation, structure, and sediment characteristics
  • Human use data: transportation and communication corridors, commercial and recreational fishing areas, marine managed areas, artificial reefs, and aquaculture lease sites
  • Distribution: feeding and spawning areas of endangered species
  • Upwellings and gyres

Survey and Design

  • Design and conduct survey to identify locations of environmental data
  • Acquire and store GIS and tabular data sets, and develop active links to existing archives. Develop a plan to acquire non-digitized data for input
  • Design and employ a web-based app to deliver digital data to the public, researchers, and resource managers

Define Data Gaps

  • Develop a detailed assessment of data gaps
  • Prioritize a list of data gaps according to critical need
  • Implement a plan to acquire high-priority non-digital data

Produce Draft Resource Map

  • Produce an integrated GIS-based data structure that links spatial data with corresponding attribute data sets
  • Prepare wall maps and computer-rendered maps for meeting presentations

Stakeholder Involvement

  • Conduct a workshop for public and stakeholders to illustrate resource and gap coverages
  • Encourage and facilitate public survey input


  • Data and information survey form and results
  • Initial prioritized list of data/information gaps
  • Maps of resource information collected
  • Maps depicting project’s data gaps
  • Report and website

Phase 2 Overview

Project Coordinator:
Dave Reed
(727) 896-8626