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Phase 2 of the GAME Project

The mission of Phase 2 of the GAME project was not only to continue the dataset identification, and stakeholder involvement initiatives of phase 1, but also to create spatial footprints in a GIS environment to identify data gaps according to critical needs. Phase 2 aimed to establish a standard metadata light format suitable for all data types and able to be viewed via a web server. Including active links to live data held by different institutions, this phase focused on essential habitat datasets.

Continued Data Inventory:

  • Discover and catalog existing Living Marine Resources (LMR) data in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Expand ecoregion data coverage to encompass regional Gulf Sectors.
  • Continue to identify and collect essential metadata to fill data gaps
  • Continue to identify and collect habitat metadata according to critical needs.
  • Identify and engage LMR Stakeholders
  • Form a working group to discuss and identify major LMR issues


  • Maps depicting data gaps according to critical needs
  • Quarterly reporting
  • Final assessment to the EPA

Closing the Data Gaps
This phase of the project is ongoing. With ongoing metadata acquisition, there is a continual process in which collected data sets need to be rendered GIS ready and added to the gap analysis. Plans for this phase of the project are to continue the analysis until all information in the catalog has been made GIS ready.

Many of the data sets required for this effort are not immediately available for a number of reasons including lack of publication, proprietary restrictions, formatting and lack of digitization, and must be statistically transformed and streamlined for use as GIS data layers or even as digital tabular databases. Much of the marine environment surrounding Florida remains poorly studied and many resources are unmapped. For these reasons, a considerable effort was directed toward the determination of critical habitat data and the continued closing of data gaps during this phase. Information included in the maps has been broken down into major classes as determined by the data set catalog as well as an overall gap analysis. Data within the catalog ranges from tabular, non-digital, non-formatted text information to digital report information in PDF format (not GIS ready), to full GIS-ready, heavily used data.

Going Forward
One of the goals of GAME is to facilitate ongoing spatial modeling to support coastal estuarine and marine ecosystem management through the delineation of eco-regions. Each sub-region can be viewed as dynamic systems, which results from the interaction of geologic, geomorphologic, oceanographic, climatic, freshwater drainage, physical, chemical, coastal vegetation, wildlife, estuary-shelf interactions, and human factors.

The data gathered through GAME are being converted to geospatial formats to support a variety of research and management applications. Some of the concerns in resource management involve flood-related data for lower rivers, floodplains, and coastal systems, vulnerability of the coastal zone to global climatic change, coastal wetlands restoration, the economic development of our coastal regions, and the environmental sustainability of these areas.

Initially, we have evaluated statistically simple models, and more statistically refined modeling approaches are being developed. Different models will need to be developed depending on the problems being addressed and the data available. Statistically sophisticated models may not be appropriate if the data available are inadequate. The initial phase of the GAME Project has helped to determine available data sets, data needs, and to define where there are spatial gaps in the existing data. These findings can help to guide future sampling, research, and modeling efforts.

There are many challenges with working with data obtained through GAME. One is the fact that the data have been collected at different times and at different spatial scales. Another challenge is that certain species may have data gaps involving various life stages possibly due to sampling issues during those periods. Moving forward with critical data identification and acquisition, GAME is closing these gaps to develop highly informed ecoregion data-layers accessible to the public, stakeholders, and researchers, to facilitate this collaborative robust collection of ever-growing coastal resource metadata.

Phase 1 Overview

Project Coordinator:
Dave Reed
(727) 896-8626