1. To explore the atlas click 'Browse Atlas' on the top banner menu.

2. The atlas will appear in a Google Earth API below 'Geospatial' and 'Form' search parameters. Please wait a few seconds for the atlas data to load.

3. You may browse the atlas by using the zoom and pan tools in Google Earth, or by selecting geospatial or form parameters. By default, geospatial parameters are set to 'none'. Only one of these parameters may be selected. The atlas will zoom to the parameter selected. The number of features detected within the parameters will be selected and displayed only by clicking the 'Submit' button.

4. Form parameters are set to 'all' by default. Any combination of form parameters are possible. In addition, you may select a geospatial parameter in combination with any form parameters. Click 'Submit'. The atlas will zoom to the features detected.

5. Search results may be downloaded as ESRI Shapefiles by clicking the 'Download' button at the bottom of the page. Downloads will include 'Area', or the metadata associated with each feature. You may copy and paste other ecosystem data fields and textual information.

6. Click Fish icons to reveal information about historical conditions of marine ecosystems, fishing methods, and marine animals. Snippets of information will appear in the pop-up window. Complete information is accessed by clicking 'View Form' and will display below the Google Earth window.

7. Entries may be edited in View Form by registered users. You must Login or Register to edit forms. If you save an edit, you will be listed as a contributor to the entry.

8. Click Camera icons to display historical photographs, maps, and other imagery. Registered users may edit image entries. Imagery that is not longer under copyright or in the public domain is welcome. Please contact the atlas administrator to contribute imagery.


1. You must register or login to create a new entry.

2. Identify and describe a fishing ground or area (Main Form)

  • A primary goal of this project is to identify historically productive ecosystems, or primary grounds or areas, within each HMAP region or ocean where humans have fished.
  • A ground or area can be as geographically precise as the location of a fishing trap, or as large and non-specific as an ocean or fishing zone. The geographic scale of your fishing area will be dependent upon the nature of fisheries data available to you.

3. Draw a Map of the fishing ground or area (Map)

  • Use JING Tutorials to learn how to use the Google Earth and OpenLayers mapping interface. A link to the tutorials is also provided on the map interface page.
  • You can draw multiple shapes (points, lines and polygons) to represent your fishing ground(s) or area(s).
  • Or, mail or e-mail GIS files, digital or hardcopy maps to the Administrator

4. Identify and describe the Method (fishing gear or technology) used to fish the ground or area (Method Form)

  • The database has many-to-many relationships, and is organized hierarchically: area > method > species. The structure allows for multiple methods and species to be associated with a geographical space.
  • Fisheries science has traditionally organized and structured data to manage single species. This geographical database is organized instead around the notion of ecosystem- or place-based management, containing human impact assessments and data management for multiple species.
  • Identification and description of the methods used to fish a particular species is needed to assess the long-term impacts of fishing upon marine ecosystems and specific fish populations (or species).

5. Identify the species fished by the method identified and described in step 3 (Species Form)

  • Evaluate the impact of each method on each species fished.

6. Finish form entry.

  • Incomplete entries are acceptable. You can add to and edit your work at any time (see HOW TO EDIT AN ENTRY).
  • Multiple methods and species were likely fished on your designated ground or area. At the bottom of the Species form you select from the drop-down menu: new method, new species, or finish form.
  • Be sure to click the 'Next Page' button after your menu selection to save your Species data entry!
  • Download an example of a completed form for Stellwagen Bank.


If you are a registered user. You can edit any text field in Browse mode. However, you can only edit your (own) maps by going to your Account link and page. Here you will see your contact information and below a list of your entries.

  • Because the database is organized hierarchically by area > method > species, you must first 'View' an entry before you can 'Edit'. Each subsequent data level requires you to click View and Edit. For example, in order to edit a Species entry, you must first View a ground/area, View the Method containing the Species entry, View the Species, and then Edit the Species.
  • When you finish editing an entry, remember to click the Save button at the bottom of the page. If editing a map, your work is saved by clicking the Commit button.
  • You may View or Edit your maps. In View mode only the zoom and pan tools are available. You can modify or delete your map shapes by selecting Edit Map.
  • In order to return to your list of entries (i.e., Main Form) or return to Method entries you must use your browser's Back button, or click the Account link in the top menu bar.
  • If you would like to make significant changes or aletrations to a map entry, please contact the atlas Administrator. Help is always available


Contact information can be acquired by the contacting the site Administrator