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The challenge of communicating coastal management, summer 2008

The challenge of communicating coastal management, summer 2008

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Published by: CoastNet on Jan 06, 2009
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The challenge of communicating coastal management

Could you figure out how many hours a day you spend answering phone calls, emails, video conferencing, at meetings, workshops, searching on Google, exchanging information with colleagues? A vast majority of those who work in Coastal Management would recognise they sometimes feel literally either “Lost in Communications” or “Lost in Information” With innovations in remote sensing, applications of Geographical . Information Systems and collaborative writing projects, the million dollar question is: “Does this actually making life easier for us coastal professionals?”


o resolve coastal issues we have to bring together the best available technologies matched with the most up to date scientific and technical information while skillfully managing communications and stakeholder involvement. Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) have a key role in providing scientists, policy makers or practitioners with the information they need or the ways of communicating with people who can provide it or be involved in the process. What is CoastNet’s role in this communications ‘revolution’? We aim always to make the most of the information we receive and to proactively search out relevant news and opportunities for our members.

Translating to the internet what coastal management is all about
The Internet doesn’t understand what we mean when we ask for specific information so CoastNet has developed a coastal thesaurus that includes relationships between terms. This so called ontology is being applied to search engines and other software to find relevant and useful information with an integrated approach. The category tree of the coastal wiki is already using the basic hierarchy tree from CoastNet http://www.encora.eu/coastalwiki/Ma in_Page and CoastNet is liaising with other similar projects in the same way.

Strategic communications for coastal management
Communications is not just an add on to ICZM projects. In many cases, poor communication has led to the failure of projects and sadly, well thought out tools and studies are developed but no one gets to see them or use them. This is why CoastNet is leading a workpackage to coordinator communications within the new Interreg funded Imcore project, a follow on from the Corepoint project.

Adapting information to specific needs
We assess information and disseminate it in an appropriate format depending of the reader and their interests. We don’t like sending out long emails with lists of information bytes. Rather, we work on an editorial strategy to capture, evaluate, edit and disseminate information in a user friendly way.

Evaluating and developing online coastal resources
The CoastWeb archive is an online library where anyone can store and retrieve coastal information which was set up by CoastNet within the Corepoint project. CoastNet also had a key role within the European partnership project, Encora, to evaluate how successful the online resources had been for coastal scientists and practitioners.

Creativity and professionalism
We believe that coastal news should never be dull, even if matters are serious, so we work with professional communications people and look for creative ways to get the message across. The Edge Summer 2008 13

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