• A consistent spatial framework for coastal data that allows a seamless transition from onshore to offshore, including clarification of offshore boundary definitions, a consistent geodetic framework for shoreline definitions, and easy transformation between various horizontal and vertical datums;

  • More and better (timely and accurate) primary source data, including high-resolution topography and shallow-water bathymetry; tide and current information; comprehensive imagery coverage; systematic and standardized bottom and habitat characterization; and human-use, land-cover, land-use, and coastal change data;

  • Consistent data, metadata, and mapping standards as well as a means to evaluate the accuracy of geospatial data;

  • Timely and straightforward access to the existing body of coastal data;

  • Increased inter- and intra-agency communication, cooperation, and coordination; and

  • Enhanced ability to interpret and apply spatial data and tools for decision making.

The review of agency activities also indicated apparent overlaps in the collection and processing of coastal zone geospatial data. In some cases these proved to be only “apparent” overlaps, in that some agencies had similar titles for activities that on the surface appeared to be the same but in actuality are not (e.g., the NOAA-CSC Community Vulnerability Assessment Tool used by FEMA and EPA’s Vulnerability Self Assessment Tool, which despite their similar names have completely different functions). In other cases, overlaps clearly do exist and must be addressed (e.g., redundancies of effort involving the acquisition of shoreline and habitat mapping data).

As the committee explored the intersection of needs and activities, the emphasis remained focused on efficiently establishing the fundamental information and tools necessary to fulfill the nation’s appropriate role in coastal zone mapping and charting. In the following chapter, the present inability to seamlessly combine onshore and offshore data, compare differently defined shorelines, and integrate and exchange existing and new coastal zone maps are described. The quantity and quality of coastal data are addressed in Chapter 4, with particular emphasis on the reference frame data (bathymetry and topography) that establish the fundamental geospatial framework for all other measurements. Chapter 5 addresses issues of timely and efficient access to these data. Chapter 6 identifies several areas where efficiencies can be gained by better coordination and collaboration and offers specific suggestions for improving interagency communication and collaboration. The strategies and recommendations associated with these issues collectively define our approach to fulfilling the vision outlined in Chapter 1.

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