Interagency Web site to manage natural resources

Human Dimensions Portal

Officials from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration are leading an effort to develop an interagency Web portal that will help the nation’s natural resource managers and others get better information about how people’s behavior and actions affect environments.

NOAA’s Coastal Services Center -- which is based in Charleston, S.C., and provides technology, services and information to coastal resource managers -- is spearheading development of HumanDimensions.gov (HD). The portal is intended to provide case studies, policies and legislation, methodologies, agency-specific information, a calendar of events and an online forum that will focus on the application of social science to natural resource management.

According to the HD.gov portal, which currently only provides scant information about the project, there is a wide variety of social science information as it relates to natural resource management on the Internet, but the information is redundant and incomplete.

“Coordination across agencies and allied groups tasked with delivering human dimensions information resources could greatly improve efficiency and effectiveness,” according to the site’s information. An informal needs assessment was conducted with a variety of agencies across the nation and respondents said such an online resource was needed.

About 20 federal agencies – including the Agriculture Department’s Forest Service, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Environmental Protection Agency – and dozens more state agencies, nonprofit groups and academic institutions are actively participating in the portal development or at least expressed an interest in helping in some manner.

According to a recently posted notice on the FedBizOpps Web site, the Coastal Services Center is seeking a sole-source contract from Kapow Technologies to provide software and training for the portal’s development. The company, based in Palo Alto, Calif., has developed software that can “mash up” pages, services and other information to create new applications and data sources, according to its Web site.

According to the FedBizOpps notice, the software must extract and integrate content in multiple formats from various participating agencies and groups into the HD.gov portal.

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