High-Resolution Orthoimagery

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The NOAA Office for Coastal Management, in partnership with federal, state, and local governments, has acquired numerous high-resolution imagery data sets of coastal areas. The high-resolution data sets represent imagery collected from multiple aerial data sources, including digital and frame cameras. The images were originally acquired to support a number of projects, including mapping of upland and wetland habitats, mapping of benthic and submerged aquatic vegetation habitats, and as a pre-hurricane baseline data source.

Data Specifications

  • Area of Coverage: Variable sizes and geographic coverages ranging from multiple counties to small port areas
  • Date(s) Available: 2002 to 2012 (vary by location)
  • Format: Most areas are available as a three-band, natural-color data set. Some geographic areas also have three-band color infrared images associated with the natural color images. Other geographic areas either have four-band imagery available or have a single-band, near-infrared image in addition to the natural color images. GeoTIFF is the most common native format. However, some of the images are available in the ERDAS .img format.
  • Resolution: Multiple resolutions that vary from 0.25 meters to 1.0 meter


  • Data can be selected by a user-defined area of interest
  • Data are available in multiple projections and datums, and the following output formats:
    • GeoTIFF
    • JPEG
    • ERDAS Imagine

Notes and Limitations: The high-resolution data sets were collected to support projects with state and local partners. The areas of coverage are relatively small and do not represent statewide or contiguous coverage of all coastal areas.

Stories from the Field

Assessing Potential Hazard Risk in Tutuila, American Samoa
The Tutuila Hazard Assessment Tool was developed to facilitate the identification of potential multi-hazard risk areas for any location on the American Samoan island of Tutuila.

Leveraging Partnerships to Fulfill Multiple Land Cover Data Needs
The Lower Columbia Estuary Partnership collaborated with C-CAP to obtain a more detailed and nationally standardized land cover product than originally planned for, while keeping costs and resources to a minimum.

Capturing Traditional Knowledge to Inform Restoration Planning in Hawai’i
Participatory mapping incorporates traditional knowledge into coastal planning and restoration.

Capturing Local Knowledge to Inform Coral Reef Management in Hawai’i
A participatory process was used to map coastal-use data to reduce anthropogenic threats to coral reefs.

Assessing Beach and Dune Susceptibility in Coastal New Jersey
The Beach-Dune Susceptibility Assessment uses lidar and aerial imagery data to develop a vulnerability rating.

Partnering to Map Oceans and Coasts for Multiple Needs in North Carolina
High-resolution digital aerial imagery and topographic lidar support multiple applications throughout NOAA.

Conserving and Restoring New York's Estuarine Habitats
Benthic habitat maps were used to support conservation and restoration efforts in New York’s South Shore Estuary Reserve.

Mapping Critical Habitats for Ecosystem-Based Management in California
Benthic habitat data and imagery supported an ecosystem based management project in Humboldt Bay and restoration efforts in the Eel River Estuary.

Establishing Baseline Habitat Conditions to Monitor Salmonid Fishery Restoration in Alaska
Benthic habitat data and imagery help monitor change in the Klawock Lagoon after the construction of a culvert to restore ocean access.

Assessing and Managing Prop Scar Damage to Seagrass in Texas
High-resolution imagery was used to assess and monitor the effect of boating activity on seagrass meadows in Redfish Bay.


Guidance for Benthic Habitat Mapping
Presents data collection, analysis, and validation guidance for mapping shallow-water habitats with aerial imagery

Remote Sensing for Intertidal Oyster Mapping in Coastal South Carolina
Summarizes image sources, mapping methods, and infrastructure requirements for mapping intertidal oyster habitats