More Than Just Data

Finding good data is one thing—applying it to solve complex coastal issues is another. That’s why the Digital Coast website provides not only essential data sets, but also the tools and training coastal communities need to turn these data into useful information. This centralized, user-friendly, and cost-effective information repository was developed by the NOAA Office for Coastal Management for the coastal managers, planners, decision-makers, and technical users who are charged to manage the nation’s coastal and ocean resources to sustain vibrant coastal communities and economies.

The Partnership That Supports the Effort

The Digital Coast has quickly become one of the most widely used resources in the coastal management community. What makes the Digital Coast work is its collaborative nature, since data and information from NOAA and a variety of other sources can be found, and downloaded, in this one, easy-to-use resource. Another important aspect: the focus on user needs and relevance, and a commitment to not only building a useful resource, but also finding new solutions to coastal management issues by providing a means by which new partners can work together.

The Digital Coast Partnership represents many of the website's diverse user groups. Partners participate in the development and outreach of this information resource, providing assurance that the products and services are relevant and are used to address pressing needs such as resilience planning and habitat conservation.

The Digital Coast Partnership includes the American Planning Association, Association of State Floodplain Managers, Coastal States Organization, National Association of Counties, National Estuarine Research Reserves Association, National States Geographic Information Council, The Nature Conservancy, Urban Land Institute, and NOAA. These partners work together to ensure that the content is relevant for intended user groups. Additionally, the partnership pools resources and talent to address coastal management issues and bring the right information from NOAA and beyond to make the Digital Coast more robust.

To further the collaborative nature of this effort, Digital Coast fellows, all postgraduate students, were placed with partner organizations for two-year projects that ranged from assessing local and state coastal management polices to support reducing risk with integrated watershed solutions. The fellowship program represents just one of many partnership efforts. Other partnership efforts include special projects in the Pacific Islands, Great Lakes, and Mississippi.

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525,000 visitors in FY 2013

A Value-Added Resource for the Coastal Community

The resources presented within the Digital Coast are being used to address a range of coastal issues from Maine to Hawaii. For example, in Southeast Florida’s low-lying areas, coastal counties are concerned about their vulnerability to sea level rise. Before they could understand potential impacts, they had to first agree how to best map the impacts of potential shallow coastal flooding. Learn what the Digital Coast has in your state.

Great Lakes communities are trying to harness more alternative energy options. Wind is strong and abundant along the shores of Lake Erie. The Ohio Office of Coastal Management used the Digital Coast’s CanVis visualization software to create the pictures and scenarios residents needed to “see” how wind turbines might look along the Lake’s viewshed.

In Northern California, the Humboldt Bay Ecosystem-Based Management Program used high-resolution multispectral imagery available from the Digital Coast to create intertidal habitat maps of the Eel River estuary. This map has proven to be an effective monitoring resource for maintaining the ecological health of this critical estuarine system.

These are just a sampling of how coastal managers and technicians are using Digital Coast data, tools, training, and partnerships. Nearly 100 stories of how coastal managers are using Digital Coast products and services can be found in the Stories from the Field section of the website.

The most frequently accessed tools include the Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Impacts Viewer, Coastal County Snapshots, Historical Hurricane Tracks, ENOW Explorer (economic information), and Land Cover Atlas. These tools are becoming ubiquitous in the coastal management community and are furthering the Digital Coast effort to provide the authoritative coastal intelligence officials need to make informed, science-based decisions.

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communities within the U.S. coastal states use Digital Coast

Developing the Digital Coast

The NOAA Office for Coastal Management is the lead office for the Digital Coast effort. The prototype for the site was developed in 2008. Over the years, staff members at the office have worked with the core Digital Coast Partnership, hundreds of contributing partners, and other coastal management stakeholders to ensure that relevant, national-level data, tools, and training are readily available and kept up to date.

The Digital Coast would not exist without the hundreds of state, local, nongovernmental, and private organizations contributing content. Learn more about these contributing partners.


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For Further Information

We encourage Digital Coast users to send in feedback, ideas, and questions about the site or the partnership. Contact us.

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