Meeting Regional, Coastal and Ocean User Needs With Tailored Data Products: A Stakeholder-Driven Process
Iwamoto, Melissa M.
Gibeaut, James C.
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New coastal and ocean observing stations and instruments deployed across the globe are providing increasing amounts of meteorological, biological, and oceanographic data. While these developments are essential for the development of various data products to inform decision-making among coastal communities, more data does not automatically translate into more benefits to society. Rather, decision-makers and other potential end-users must be included in an ongoing stakeholder-driven process to determine what information to collect and how to best streamline access to information. We present a three-step approach to develop effective tailored data products: (1) tailor stakeholder engagement to identify specific user needs; (2) design and refine data products to meet specific requirements and styles of interaction; and (3) iterate engagement with users to ensure data products remain relevant. Any of the three steps could be implemented alone or with more emphasis than others, but in order to successfully address stakeholders’ needs, they should be viewed as a continuum—as steps in a process to arrive at effective translation of coastal and ocean data to those who need it. Examples from the Regional Associations of the U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System (IOOS®), the Texas General Land Office, and the Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-hazards Department (VMGD) are woven throughout the discussion. These vignettes illustrate the value of this stakeholder-driven approach and provide a sample of the breadth of flexibility and customizability it affords. We hope this community white paper inspires others to evaluate how they connect their stakeholders to coastal and ocean observing data and provides managers of observing systems with a guide on how to evolve in a manner that addresses societal needs.