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A Geospatial Framework for the Coastal Zone: National Needs for Coastal Mapping and Charting
tures on coastal mapping and charting (each agency was asked to provide a reliable estimate of its annual expenditures on coastal mapping and charting), the inconsistency of responses made it impossible to provide a precise (or even approximate) total. It is clear, though, that hundreds of millions of dollars are spent each year on coastal zone mapping and charting activities. The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) had hoped to compile a comprehensive accounting of the federal dollars spent on geospatial data collection in 2002, for publication in early 2003. However, difficulties encountered when attempting to collect these data resulted in the comprehensive compilation being deferred, with the intention that 2003 data should be available in early 2004. Therefore, although not available at the time of publication of this report, the information contained in the OMB study should finally allow a quantitative assessment of the amount of federal money spent on coastal zone mapping activities.
The information presented to the committee is summarized in Appendix A, based on the more extensive compilation presented in the committee’s interim report (NRC, 2003a). This information was reviewed by each agency for accuracy, but the perspective is ultimately that of this committee. Although state and local agencies play a key role in the acquisition and use of coastal geospatial data, the breadth and diversity of these activities prohibited an exhaustive review of each coastal state’s activities and needs.1 The committee found considerable commonality of needs and activities among the states and local agencies and accordingly has included a “generic” section on state and local needs and activities. An overarching expression of the needs of state and local agencies is probably best presented in the recent Coastal States Organization (CSO) submission to the U.S. Commission on Ocean Policy, which called for “complete mapping of the nation’s coastal areas, including near-shore topography and coastal watersheds, at a scale and in a form that is readily available and usable by the states and territories with an initial focus on critical areas under threat to the public or critical coastal or ocean resources.” The CSO also states that such a mapping program is needed because of the “lack of accurate mapping of flood plains, erosion zones and shorelines and accessible information to enable states and communities to make well-reasoned, cost-effective, long-term decisions” (CSO, 2002, p. 17).
While the committee has made every attempt to be as complete in its analysis as possible, the magnitude of coastal mapping activities across this nation is such that it is possible that some activities and needs have
A state-by-state review of some activities is presented in the CSC-sponsored study of GISs for ocean management (Good and Sowers, 1999).