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The Need for Sustained and Integrated High-Resolution Mapping of Dynamic Coastal Environments

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The coastal zone of the United States is a dynamic environment evolving in response to both natural processes and human activities. In order to protect coastal populations and resources, a detailed understanding of the physical setting and of the processes responsible for change is required. A sustained program of mapping coastal areas provides a means to establish baseline conditions, document change, and, in conjunction with models of physical processes, predict future behavior. Recent advances in mapping technology, including airborne lidars and hyperspectral imagers, allow for the rapid collection of high-resolution elevation data and land use information on a national scale. These rich data sets are critical to evaluating risk associated with coastal hazards, such as flooding during extreme storms. For example, coastal elevation data is a fundamental parameter in storm surge models that predict where flooding will occur, and land use maps serve as the foundation of assessments that identify the resources and populations that are most vulnerable. A comprehensive, national coastal mapping plan that is designed to collect, manage, and distribute these data, as well as to take advantage of recent progress in mapping technology, will provide a wealth of information for studying the processes of physical change, for determining areas vulnerable to coastal hazards, and for protecting and managing our coastal communities and resources.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2006

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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