We selected ArcGIS because it has credibility. It is used by lots of other companies in this industry, so contractors and partners are familiar with it.
Initially, ArcGIS will be configured to support decision making in house. It will be used, for example, to help the organisation identify the best locations for wind turbine fields and assess how productive they might be. ArcGIS is ideally suited to the challenge of analysing vast amounts of data and narrowing down a shortlist of sites, based on a wide range of commercial and environmental criteria.
Looking further ahead, Simply Blue aspires to take advantage of some of the advanced interactive mapping features of ArcGIS to help it collaborate more effectively with consultants and clients. Its goal is to be able to view and share geospatial data in real-time and leverage GIS, especially in the planning and development phase of new sustainable energy projects, which is a focal point for Simply Blue as an early stage developer. “We don’t live in a paper world anymore,” Bouma says. “Being able to interact with maps to open up and explore data on demand creates all kinds of opportunities.”
In addition, Simply Blue dreams of using ArcGIS to help it communicate projects to stakeholders and communities. It believes that ArcGIS could, in the future, play a critical role in helping to explain how big wind farms are, where they are and even what they will look like from different vantage points. Bouma eagerly awaits the time when he and his colleagues will be able to use online, interactive maps to reassure fishermen that proposed marine developments are away from fishing grounds and even show people in communities what offshore wind farms will look like from their homes.
ArcGIS will help to open up conversations and avoid any misunderstanding.
There is rising interest in renewable energy, and Simply Blue aims to be right at the crest of this marine development wave. However, the organisation is also engaged in pioneering aquaculture projects, such as a scheme to create new low-impact salmon farms in Scotland. ArcGIS is likely to play a role in such fishery schemes in the future, as well as other ocean-based sustainability projects not yet conceived. “It’s hard to know exactly how we will use ArcGIS in the future, as things in the marine development industry are moving so fast,” Bouma says. “But ArcGIS enables us to keep our options open. As new opportunities come up, we will be able to pivot and deliver whatever is needed to ensure the sustainable use of the world’s oceans.”