The Southern Chinook Spawn Mapping Tool is an interactive web application developed by ESSA Technologies for DFO’s Pacific Region to aid in implementation of the Wild Salmon Policy. The tool has been created to allow DFO’s regional biologists, and potentially a larger group of qualified provincial, First Nations and consulting biologists to easily add and update information on the location and extent of Chinook salmon spawning areas.

Soliciting contributions from a broad range of fisheries experts in this manner represents a form of expert-based Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI), or crowdsourcing, in order to acquire better BC provincial fish data. Information provided on-line in this manner is automatically transferred to a centralized database currently maintained by ESSA Technologies.

The Spawn Mapping Tool allows users to continuously explore and add to spawning data in real time through the on-line map, which is organized by distinct Southern Chinook salmon populations (“Conservation Units”). The current iteration of the tool also allows expert users knowledgeable about specific Conservation Units to identify and map critical spawning habitats, former spawning areas, and local stressors to spawning habitats within the watersheds to aid in future habitat assessments.

While development of the Spawn Mapping Tool to date has focused on collection of new and updated Southern Chinook spawning information there are no defined limits to the types of information that could be collected through this easy-to-use online application, allowing for potential improvements in map-based data collection that could help address a range of local salmon habitat issues.