Maritime Spatial Planning (MSP) needs computerised tools that can aid in analysing and defining the current and future conditions in the marine environment, as well as to produce intelligible visualisations, and facilitate discussion between planners, stakeholders, and decision makers. While several decision support tools have been developed for MSP, reports of their use in MSP processes is limited. One of the central goals of the BONUS BASMATI project is to develop the Baltic Explorer, an interactive and collaborative web-based Spatial Decision Support System (SDSS) for MSP in the Baltic Sea.
The system will be developed as a multi-user, multi-platform collaborative Spatial Decision Support system that allows for group work in Maritime Spatial Planning in the Baltic Sea region. The development focuses on collaborative aspects of the tool, which let the users browse maritime data layers from different data providers. The users can also conduct negotiation activities, such as drawing and editing spatial features in shared workspaces. Many users can work on the same view with different devices at the same time, and look at a view on a large screen simultaneously. Thus, the Baltic Explorer will facilitate discussion between different actors in MSP.
The Baltic Explorer will also implement functionalities needed in the BONUS BASMATI case studies, such as geovisualisation of factors in planning ecosystem services. The development process of the Baltic Explorer adopts agile software development practices and principles, iteratively adapting to emerging new needs of MSP and its actors during the BONUS BASMATI project. The system is tested in the case studies, and the test results have already revealed an overall positive attitude towards the use of such system in solving maritime spatial conflicts. At the end of the project, the Baltic Explorer will be published as free and open source software.