Spherical | Analytics Launches Marine Databank with Port of New Bedford

Spherical | Analytics (S|A) is pleased to announce that our partnership with the New Bedford Port Authority (NBPA) has been awarded the Seaport Economic Council (SEC) Grand Challenge Grant to seed the launch of the Marine Databank.

The Marine Databank (MBD) will act as a data coop, or on a mutual company model. Those sharing data, analytics and other digital tools to contribute to science, sustainable fisheries, oceans health, coastal community resilience and other pressing challenges include fishing boat/ fleet owners, shellfish harvesters, researchers, conversation groups and other public and private enterprises. Privacy and data ownership rights will be protected as they explore sharing, trading or licensing of their data, analytics and models.

The Immutably™ for Maritime Trust Platform will provide the core technology to build the databank. Data will be cryptographically proofed and ledgered using blockchain and other cutting-edge technologies so that contributors can know their data will be safe, and users can trust that the data and its sources are legitimate. Only those trusted sources will then be fed into network graph analytics, machine learning, and visualization services that will then be made available to MDB participants under carefully negotiated terms and conditions. 

The SEC “Grand Challenge” provides grant funding and technical expertise to organizations and groups “that provide innovative solutions to improve marine and coastal community resources in Massachusetts.”[1] The grant is funded through the Office of Lieutenant Governor, Karyn Polito, in conjunction with the Office of the Governor, Charlie Baker, and the Mass Tech Collaborative.

As part of our project, S|A will partner in developing and managing the MDB with the NBPA, the City of New Bedford, the UMass Dartmouth School for Marine Science and Technology (SMAST), the Massachusetts Green High Performance Computing Center, and Baycoast Bank.

The Marine Databank will demonstrate how various stakeholders in coastal communities can share, trade and license private data sources in an open and secure digital trust platform, enabling those communities to harness ‘the power of the data’ to refine and enhance their best practices aimed at achieving economic, environmental and community resilience. 

Information challenges – from availability to pedigree to fidelity – also abound in the fishing industry. These challenges show in a number of ways: 

  1. Certifying private data sources to enable their integration with public sector fish stock and oceans health assessments and policies for maximum accuracy, resolution and reliability

  2. Codifying reliable bycatch elimination methods that ensure regulatory compliance and sustainable harvest opportunities against species-specific quota

  3. Reducing the cost of regulatory compliance and enforcement while protecting the privacy and safety of individual fleet owners and operators, and law enforcement

New Bedford remains the #1 fishing port in the United States by value of the product landed at its docks, and the Port of New Bedford (NBPA) represents nearly 3% of the Gross Domestic Product of MA annually. However, the NBPA is not immune to data challenges that inhibit enterprises looking to enhance and prove their resilience to the community, maritime industry partners, and the world.

With the SEC Grand Challenge-funded Marine Databank, the State of Massachusetts, the City of New Bedford, and the regional maritime, technology and finance sectors are once again seeking to advance economic opportunities; this time with explicit intent to advance the resilience, sustainability, productivity, and sensitivity of our impacts on oceans health, coastal resilience, and inclusive community development/ redevelopment through new approaches to data.  

“Spherical | Analytics was created to serve as the world’s most trusted source for environmental data to be applied to a new generation of sustainable enterprises, climate risk mitigation and resilience initiatives,” stated Dan Harple, Founder and CEO of S|A. 

“By bringing S|A together with the subject matter experts at the New Bedford Port Authority, the commercial fishing fleet and their partners as well as UMASS SMAST, we are making good on the promise of technology to materially and persistently support fleets, scientific communities, regulators, risk/ finance partners and coastal communities as they work to make gains in sustainable fisheries for food security, oceans health, and overall health and wellness on the planet,” stated Chris Rezendes, Chief Business Officer at S|A. “From the strength of our partnerships and the alignment of our mission, we’re excited to collaborate with New Bedford Port Authority and its fleet partners, the City of New Bedford and the Executive Branch of the State of Massachusetts to innovate and share new approaches to sustainable fisheries, food security, urban economic development, coastal resilience and the future of data as an asset class.”

To accomplish these goals, the MDB will combine the capabilities of each partner to build a trusted environment for marine industry stakeholders to access, share, trade, and license myriad sources of relevant data.

Core to the MDB remains Immutably™ for Maritime which will offer a number of capabilities including, but not limited to:

  1. Any relevant data – from open source satellite imagery to water quality and oceans conditions sensors from private fleet sensors

  2. Cryptographic proofing of data source identity and data veracity – no fake data

  3. Blockchain enabled distributed ledgers – ensuring every stakeholder has access and privacy

  4. Network graph analytics and machine learning – to enable any stakeholder to search for connections among formerly disparate data sets and seek new insights

  5. Visualization tools that help tell stories for real people – not only data scientists

With the MDB, the fleet will control their own data and gain the ability to share, trade, or sell that data in a new data marketplace overseen by their trusted partner, the New Bedford Port Authority. The state will have another asset to enable a new generation of sustainable fisheries, oceans health, coastal resilience, and economic development practices. Regulators, finance, and risk partners will have more accurate, reliable, and relevant data to model risk, refine policy, and enhance their contributions.

Finally, coastal communities everywhere will have a new tool to consider as they address the unique needs of their community, environment, and fleet.  

Please contact us at info@sphericalanalytics.io or www.sphericalanalytics.io to learn more about Immutably™ for Maritime, our work with environmental data and blockchain to achieve sustainability, or our work in New Bedford and the Marine Databank.

[1] https://www.masstech.org/seaport-economic-council-grand-challenge