CanVis SimulationUse this easy-to-use visualization tool to “see” potential community impacts from coastal development or sea level rise.


  • Download your background picture
  • Create a vision of the future by adding objects—docks, buildings, rising water, and more—to the photo using the expansive photo objects library

Learn more.

Stories from the Field

Communicating Coastal Flooding Risks around the Great Lakes
CanVis is helping coastal managers communicate flooding scenarios to shoreline residents in Green Bay.

Planning for Resilient Coastal Communities in New York
The Coastal Inundation Mapping training, Roadmap for Adapting to Coastal Risk approach, and other NOAA resources aided New York partners in mapping and assessing Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy impacts and planning for long-term recovery and resilience.

Conveying the Visual Impacts of Small Docks and Piers in Massachusetts
CanVis was used to illustrate the visual impacts of docks and piers on ponds.

Revealing the Effects of High-Rise Condominiums on Water Views in Pennsylvania
CanVis was used to illustrate the visual impact of high-rise condominium developments on scenic water vistas.

Illustrating the Aesthetic Impacts of Offshore Wind Turbines in Lake Erie
CanVis was used to show stakeholders how offshore wind turbines would impact Lake Erie vistas.

Visualizing a New Public Recreation Area in South Carolina
Planning commissioners used CanVis to help visualize the benefits of a passive public park.

Illustrating an Improved Community Streetscape in Connecticut
CanVis enabled officials to picture proposed changes to downtown areas.

Picturing Living Shorelines in Maryland
CanVis was used to give residents a clearer picture of how living shorelines look and function.

Bringing Data and Tools to the Restoration Community at a National Conference
Partners unite to put the right Digital Coast data, tools, and training into the hands of communities working to restore vital estuary habitat

CanVis News

CanVis Newsletter
Provides quarterly updates and information about CanVis

Past issues:

Guidance Documents

CanVis End User License Agreement

Using Photorealistic Visualizations
Introduces various visualization types and provides guidance on creating and using photorealistic visualizations

Using CanVis for Visualizations
Provides illustrated step-by-step instructions on using CanVis tools and creating visualizations with your own imagery

Visual Simulation Guide
Provides general guidance on how to plan a simulation project, acquire images, edit an image, and accurately locate and size objects in an image

CanVis Cheat Sheet (en espanol)

Height and Horizon Calculations
Provides guidelines on how to estimate the height of a feature or object in CanVis given its distance from the camera and actual height


CanVis Training
Shows how to use CanVis software to create believable simulations (Note: software requires Adobe's free Flash Player)

Training Videos
Contains several training videos about the various tools, functions, and applications that the software can complete

CanVis Presentation
Provides an introduction to CanVis and example projects

CanVis visual simulation guide and training videos were created and provided courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agroforestry Center.

Download CanVis Version 3.0

With an average 512 kbps DSL Internet connection, this file (103MB) will take about 30 minutes to download.

Please provide the information below to download the CanVis software or, optionally, to receive the CanVis software on disk. Your information will not be shared.

Once you submit this form you will be taken to the Download page.

NOTE: CanVis is not intended for detailed analysis. The strengths of this software lie in its speed and ease of use.

Coastal Object Libraries

CanVis is provided with libraries (groups of objects) from the U.S. Department of Agriculture's National Agroforestry Center. The NOAA Office for Coastal Management provides additional objects (boats, docks, etc.) useful for organizations that manage coastal resources.

All files were last updated on October 9, 2009.

The NOAA Office for Coastal Management has recently developed a program that will automatically load all coastal object libraries into your CanVis application. Using this program means that you will no longer need to load individual libraries manually. Please determine which version of CanVis you have installed on your computer before downloading.

Download Object Libraries Loader for CanVis 3.0 (.exe, 100MB)

Download Object Libraries Loader for CanVis 2.3 or Earlier (.exe, 90.2MB)

IAN Symbol Libraries

The University of Maryland's Integration and Application Network (IAN) has created a library of over 2,000 symbols designed specifically for scientific conceptual diagrams. The NOAA Office for Coastal Management has converted all of these symbols into a format which can be used in CanVis and is now available for download. Please determine which version of CanVis you have installed on your computer before downloading.

Download Symbol Libraries Loader for CanVis 3.0 (.exe, 150MB)

Download Symbol Libraries Loader for CanVis 2.3 or Earlier(.exe, 147MB)

For more information about the Integration and Application Network please visit

Technical Assistance

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