Mapping Your Waterfront

The Division of Coastal Resources uses Geographic Information Systems (GIS) technology to assist in managing waterfront resources throughout New York's coastal area. The Division's GIS Unit provides assistance to communities during comprehensive and regional planning, works to develop high-accuracy digital orthophotography coverage, develops satellite-based remote sensing data applications and products, and uses GIS technology in natural resource evaluation.

As a member of New York State’s GIS Data Sharing Cooperative, the Division coordinates with federal and state agencies, local governments, and not-for-profit organizations to share important data, fulfill unmet needs, and prevent duplication of effort.

Support for Local and Regional Planning
The Division of Coastal Resources GIS Unit provides support during development of Local Waterfront Revitalization Programs, harbor management plans, and regional coastal management programs. Each type of plan requires extensive mapping and analysis to support decision-making, and the Division often provides technical support in producing GIS products.

Special regional projects involving GIS include submerged aquatic habitat mapping in the South Shore Estuary of Long Island, mapping to support the Peconic Estuary No Discharge Zone, and mapping related to the Niagara frontier economic development initiative.

The Division of Coastal Resources also works with local governments and non-profit organizations to establish GIS capability by providing technical assistance and grant funding for technology capacity building.

Digital Orthophotography
As an early initiative under the South Shore Estuary Reserve (SSER) program, the Division of Coastal Resources completed development of digital orthophotography covering 500 square miles Long Island's south shore. The orthophotography has been used to detect and map tidal wetlands, confirm and verify land use and condition, provide accurate shoreline location for erosion monitoring, and enhance interpretation of information in other data layers. This data set will assist municipalities and public agencies with comprehensive planning, emergency response and disaster preparedness. The Division of Coastal Resources has also produced orthophotography for nearly all of New York State, available for download from the GIS Data Clearinghouse.

Satellite-Based Remote Sensing: Research and Applications
The Division of Coastal Resources has been actively involved in land cover mapping initiatives since 1993, when it first participated in the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Coastal Change Analysis Program. The first products completed under this program include a land cover map for Nassau and Suffolk Counties on Long Island. Other work involves research on the use of radar imagery in combination with optical LandSat imagery to determine whether this combination enhances wetland detection, flood plain analysis, and land cover mapping.

Land cover data applications developed by the Division of Coastal Resources include change analyses for land development, natural resources, and non-point source pollution. Land cover change for 1984 to 1994 and non-point pollution potential have both been mapped for Long Island's SSER. Techniques refined during the SSER non-point pollution potential analysis are now employed in a similar study for the Lake George basin. Research is ongoing to create a dynamic non-point pollution model.

Natural Resource Evaluation
The Division of Coastal Resources GIS Unit conducts important work for the SSER assessing wetland losses, identifying potential restoration sites, identifying open space, and delineating habitat areas. In partnership with NOAA’s Coastal Services Center, the Division is using aerial imagery to produce maps of submerged aquatic vegetation beds. A dynamic non-point pollution model is currently in development for an SSER watershed, and once completed will assist local, regional and state governments in evaluating impacts resulting from nonpoint pollution.