In the 1980’s, Seth Brown, then president of the National Coalition for Marine Conservation-Pacific Region, asked then Executive Director Carl Nettleton the following question: why don’t research organizations work more closely together to better understand ocean issues?
In September 2006, following nearly 18 months of intensive research and more than 20 years of practice in ocean policy, politics, and conflict resolution, Carl, as OpenOceans Global founder, attempted to answer the question in a presentation at the California and the World Oceans Conference in Long Beach, California.
The presentation focused on the potential to elevate research, public education, and public policy decisions to a new level using geographical information systems (GIS) as a collaborative tool.
The presentation was based, in part, on experience Carl had gained in San Diego during a six-year period starting in 1999 when he created and led a collaboration designed to coordinate a massive construction effort in that City’s downtown, even while numerous special events were held and daily life went on for residents, businesses and visitors. He led a team that guided the diverse interests of that community into a working unit that solved problems together.
This experience convinced him that a long-standing problem blocking collaboration and funding for ocean research and education could also be overcome by a people-based effort united by GIS technology.
The response to OpenOceans Global has been rewarding. From the heads of government agencies to GIS practitioners the answer has been: “this is needed, it would be great if you could create OpenOceans Global.”
So the real work began.
Incorporation: November 8, 2007
501(c)(3) Status: April 17, 2009