Recommendation 11: New remote sensing and in-situ technologies and techniques should be developed to help fill critical data gaps at the land-water interface.

There are a number of promising new technologies and techniques: integrated bathymetric/topographic LIDAR, multispectral, hyperspectral, and photographic imaging systems; sensors deployed on autonomous underwater vehicles; “opportunistic” mapping using volunteer recreational boats equipped with specialized mapping sensors approved by issuing agencies; autonomous bottom-crawling vehicles; improved satellite-imaging capabilities; and data fusion capabilities. Continued support from funding agencies for development of coastal remote sensing tools, combined with an increased emphasis on coastal needs, will greatly accelerate the development and implementation of these critically needed technologies. The private sector can play a major role in addressing this recommendation.

The recommendations and strategies outlined above call for the establishment of a consistent geospatial framework and the application of innovative new acquisition, integration, and data management technologies that should allow coastal zone scientists, engineers, and managers to efficiently produce easily accessible, fully interchangeable, accurate, timely, and useful geospatial data and mapping products that seamlessly extend across the coastal zone. The recommendations also suggest simple mechanisms to enhance collaboration and cooperation among those charged with acquiring data in this complex region. These mechanisms should facilitate efficiency gains that will allow most of the nation’s coastal zone to be mapped in a timely manner. While simple in concept, implementation of the suggested strategies will require a focused effort on the part of the coastal zone community. If implemented, however, the committee believes that a major step will have been taken toward assuring the long-term well-being of the coastal zone.

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