Written by Alyssum Pohl, NOAA Digital Coast Fellow
The Digital Coast website offers resources to users at every level of planning and government. On September 11, I was invited by Knauss Sea Grant Fellow, Policy Assistant to the Oceanographer of the Navy, Kate Nixon, to share these resources at the United States Naval Observatory (USNO). The USNO is one of the oldest scientific agencies in the U.S. and residence of the Vice President of the United States. Josh Murphy, a GIS expert who works with the NOAA Coastal Services Center helped me present to several members of the Department of Defense who work on resilience, sustainability, land use planning, and renewable natural resources, including representatives from the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. Josh and I talked with our audience about the benefits of Digital Coast—highlighting its capacity to provide tools, data and training—and offered stories about how others have used Digital Coast. We then offered a few demonstrations of the tools.
The first tool I described was Coastal County Snapshots. This tool allows users to quickly and easily create a single-page document of your coastal county with easy-to-read graphs and images on three coastally relevant topics:
- Flood Exposure Risk
- Ocean Jobs
- Wetland Benefits
Each snapshot shows a different collection of demographic, infrastructure and land use development data from trusted sources. Because these snapshots are so easy to generate, and the information provided is so easy to digest, they make a great story-telling platform whether you are a coastal manager, planner, decision maker or public communicator.
I also highlighted the MarineCadastre.gov National Viewer which is a viewer for many layers of marine spatial data. The layers of data included in this viewer include offshore boundaries, infrastructure, human use, energy potential, marine habitat, physical and oceanographic information and more. The most common use for this tool is to assess the suitability of a particular ocean use in a specific area. Several examples of how the tool has been used are included on the website.
Screen Shot of Marine Cadastre
But the majority of our presentation was spent explaining and exploring the Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Impacts Viewer, since many of the participants at the meeting work directly with sea level rise issues. This tool helps users interpret the potential flooding impact due to sea level rise, storm surge, or other causes of coastal flooding. There are several visualization options including an interactive slider that the user can use to set the flooding at zero to six feet of inundation in one-foot increments, whether the flooding estimates given are with high or low confidence, marsh migration or wetland impacts, socioeconomic vulnerability, and flooding frequency. Our audience was technically savvy, so Josh was able to delve deeply into how the viewer was created and how data are compiled within the tool.
Estimated areas affected in Miami-Dade County at three feet and six feet of sea level rise. Note the image of Hugh Taylor Birch State Park sign in the corner of these screen shots—this imaging gives a more personal idea of what that sea level rise would look like at the local level.