A federal interactive online mapping tool used by emergency responders during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill has been expanded to include the Arctic, helping address challenges posed by increasing ship traffic and proposed energy development in the area. NOAA and the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement (BSEE) called the Environmental Response Management Application (ERMA) an important step forward for the Arctic region.
ERMA brings together all of the available information needed for an effective emergency response in the Arctic. In an emergency situation, ERMA is equipped with near real-time oceanographic observations and weather data from NOAA, and critical environmental, commercial, and industrial data information from BSEE, and numerous other federal and state response agencies. Responders can further customise the tool with environmental, logistical, and operational data such as fishery closure areas, resources at risk maps, and mariner notices, depending on the need.
Integrating and synthesising real-time and static data into a single interactive map, ERMA provides a quick visualisation of the situation, improving communication and coordination among responders and stakeholders. NOAA developed Arctic ERMA to be better prepared for escalating energy exploration and transportation activity in the region.