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The rapid pace of economic, ecological and social change has dramatically influenced the way ocean and coastal environments around the world are mapped and managed. Our ability to measure change in the oceans (open, nearshore, or coast) is increasing, not only because of improved measuring devices and scientific techniques, but also because new GIS technology provides a better understanding of this dynamic environment. From collection and display of data to complex simulation, modelling and the development of new research methods and concepts, we continue to evolve GIS to better empower ocean scientists, resource managers and conservationists.

Earth Sciences


Every day, the scientific community uses GIS to address twenty-first-century environmental challenges and understand the changing world. A strong scientific enterprise will yield new tools for analysis and investigation to increase our capacity to question, learn and advance.

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Ecological Marine Units


EMUs are 3D representations of observations about ocean characteristics, from the sea surface to the seafloor. A foundation for a standardised and practical global ecosystems classification and map for the ocean, EMUs are being used in over 15 projects worldwide. The data is free and open within ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World.

Ecological Marine Unit Explorer
GIS provides a better understanding of ocean ecosystems.
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Ecological Coastal Units in progress
View a video update from a USGS senior scientist on the new Ecological Coastal Units (ECUs) project called Global Shorelines, Islands and Coastal Systems: New Data and Tools.
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An ocean of story maps


With the storytelling tools in ArcGIS, the ocean community is telling powerful stories about ocean science, conservation, exploration and fieldwork. Find motivation for your story with the story maps in this unique collection of outstanding science communication examples that inform, educate and inspire scientists, conservationists, decision-makers and the public.

Advanced ocean basemaps


The Ocean Basemap includes a vector tile layer for bathymetry, surface and subsurface feature names and derived depths, designed for use by ocean GIS specialists or as a reference map by anyone interested in ocean data. New content is available across all styles of vector tile layers, enabling customisation of both layer content and display appearance.

Ocean content in Living Atlas

ArcGIS Living Atlas of the World is the foremost collection of geographic information from around the globe. Featuring a fantastic array of ocean content, you will find authoritative, carefully curated maps, apps and data layers to support a wide range of ocean science or maritime activities. 

A platform for protecting the environment

Esri’s ArcGIS platform provides the data and analytics you need to execute informed conservation plans. Use authoritative data and sophisticated analytics to understand and better protect any biodiverse environment.

Benthic Terrain Modeler

The Benthic Terrain Modeler is a Python-3-based set of geoprocessing tools to analyse benthic terrain for the purposes of classifying surficial seafloor characteristics. It now implements block-based processing for large raster calculations using the NumPy and SciPy scientific libraries.

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