NOAA’s Office of Response and Restoration (ORR) in a partnership with the University of New Hampshire Coastal Response Research Center (CRRC), is leading an effort to develop an Open Source GIS system that is accessible to both the command post and to assets in the field during a response. The ERMA (Environmental Response Management Application) system is an integrated data management platform that uses MapServer and Open Layers software to combine real-time and static regional geospatial data sets. Data available include: weather and forecasts, ESI maps, IOOS buoys, modeled spill trajectories, real-time tracks of vessels, response plans, navigational charts, bathymetry, restoration projects, water quality and sediment chemistry data, protected and economically important areas, and other natural resource information. The application is able to upload, manipulate, analyze and display spatially referenced data for solving complex resource issues. The web-based nature of ERMA is critical as it allows for the integration and synthesis of various types of information, provides a common operational picture for all individuals involved in an incident, improves communication and coordination among responders and stakeholders, and provides resource managers with the information necessary to make faster and better informed decisions. In terms of pre-planning and preparedness for oil spill response, this system is nearly as important as any oil spill detection or response technique. The pilot site was developed for Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and now NOAA is partnering with other entities to develop an ERMA system for locations such as the Caribbean and Arctic.


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

Publication Date


Journal or Conference Title

Coastal Geotools 2009



Conference Date

Mar 2 - Mar 5, 2009

Publisher Place

Myrtle Beach, SC, USA


U.S. Geological Survey

Document Type

Conference Proceeding