and entities involved in order to minimize redundancy of efforts and maximize operational efficiencies. There will be national—and perhaps international—standards and protocols for data collection and metadata creation and readily available tools for data transformation and integration. With these tools, the user community will be able to evaluate the accuracy and timeliness of data and change scales and projections, as well as seamlessly merge disparate datasets. The database and data integration tools will be easily accessible to all users, public and private, from a single digital portal accessible through the Internet.

This is a bold vision, but at the same time an obvious one. Who would argue with a system that is efficient and produces easily accessible, fully interchangeable, accurate, and timely data? The vision may be simple to define, but its implementation will be anything but simple. As discussed in the following chapters, there are serious impediments to attaining this vision. It is the committee’s hope, however, that the strategies outlined here will help the nation to get there. The long-term sustainability of our coastal resources may well depend on it.

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