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Technical Information about ERMA

The Environmental Response Management Application (ERMA®) is based on open-source software (PostgreSQL/PostGIS, MapServer, and OpenLayers) that meet Open Geospatial Consortium (OGC) specifications and standards used across federal and international geospatial standards communities. This ensures ERMA is compatible with other commercial and open-source Geographic Information System (GIS) applications that can readily incorporate data from online data projects and avoids licensing costs. Open-source compatibility supports data sharing, leverages existing data projects, reduces ERMA’s maintenance costs, and ensures system flexibility as the technology advances.

ERMA is faster and easier to use than some proprietary GIS tools, and because it is open source, it can easily be customized to meet individual requirements. ERMA allows users to download data sets of interest and incorporate them into desktop GIS, Google Earth, or into partner GIS internet mapping sites.

An Open-Source Application

ERMA provides non-GIS users with the ability to quickly interact with and analyze information. For example, you can draw a polygon on the map to communicate a proposed fisheries closure area or a restoration project, and this information is then instantly available to other users. ERMA was designed to draw upon and aggregate existing data to facilitate their interpretation and to display risk scenarios.

Users can draw shapes to select areas (and data) on a map, which they can combine with other spatial data sets and then produce a summary report. ERMA also allows you to measure distance, draw a perimeter to calculate the area of a selected polygon, save certain views on a map, animate data layers, and label points of interest when printing customized maps.

ERMA has a multi-level security structure. Most people can see all publicly available data layers without having to login, but only authorized users can access, for example, certain sensitive information during a spill or for climate change analysis. Views (specific data displays) can also be tailored for particular groups such as responders, restoration specialists, or legislators.

ERMA Overview: Find out more information about the ERMA software program and regional ERMA sites.

Standard ERMA Citation

Environmental Response Management Application. Web application. Region. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2014. Web. Date of access. <>

Example of How to Use in a Bibliography:

Environmental Response Management Application. Web application. Arctic. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2014. Web. 19 Dec. 2013. <>


Questions: Contact us with your questions, comments, or suggestions for ERMA.

Last updated Wednesday, May 1, 2019 10:44am PDT