Maritime Information Sharing Tools- Are they useful?

In it’s quest to facilitate information between maritime stakeholders, namely between government and commercial entitities, the federal government has invested heavily in several web based platforms.

For example, the Department of Transportation/MARAD developed MARVIEW, described as “an integrated data-driven environment providing essential information to support the strategic requirement of the U.S. Marine Transportation System (MTS) and its contribution to the economic viability of the Nation.” Marview provides a wealth of information, from port statistics to live AIS vessel tracking. Similarly, the USCG had developed HOMEPORT, a site with everything from regulations to point of contacts with in specific CG sectors.

But a tool is only useful if it is actually used, and its value lies in meeting it’s users need. That said, is MARVIEW and HOMEPORT useful tools for the maritime community? Is it meeting a need? Should they be changed, modified, or eliminated? (a real possibility given the present round of budget cuts) Does anyone know about these tools outside of the federal maritime community?

Check them out:

Homeport certainly has some good information but the website itself is nearly impossible to navigate. Marview certainly improves on this but lacks wide-spread use.

The way I learn how to use things on the web is from other people. Either by talking with them directly, asking questions on forums or doing a simple google search. But their is not much info out their on marview. I do think it’s a worthwhile tool but it really needs a better marketing campaign because, until it gains wide-spread adoption, there is not going to be a community of users large enough to support each other.

Thanks John. I completely agree on both counts. I am trying to provide some feedback to MARAD regarding Marview in coordination with some of the other projects I am working on. Bottom line is that we need to figure out what information that is needed and how best to effectively get it to those that need it. My team, and the folks I support, have a long way to go, but are working to find the right ways to get this done.