NOTICE: Maryland's Coastal Atlas has been upgraded to Version 2.0. Select the "Interactive Map v 2.0" tab above to access the updated version. For a better viewing experience, we recommend using the Mozilla Firefox Web Browser.
The Coastal Atlas is an online mapping and planning tool that allows state and local decision-makers to explore and analyze data for coastal and ocean planning activities.
Our ocean and estuarine environments are facing an era of unprecedented activity. Wind farms and energy facilities, commercial fishing, diverse recreational uses, shipping highways, and other coastal and marine activities are competing for time and space. To ensure the protection of Marylandís critical ocean and estuarine resources and the coastal economies that depend on them, Maryland has developed a Coastal Atlas. The Coastal Atlas provides direct access to critical data required for successful coastal and ocean planning efforts. Spatial data are essential for many planning activities, including siting of renewable energy projects, locating sand resources for beach replenishment, and helping local communities identify areas vulnerable to sea level rise and erosion. The Coastal Atlas assists users early in the planning process to identify potential conflicts so that they can then be avoided or addressed. The current Atlas platform supports data visualization, mapping, querying, and analysis of the Stateís critical ocean and estuarine resources Ė our Blue Infrastructure.
The Coastal Atlas provides access to data on physical characteristics, human uses, and ecological resources for our ocean, shoreline, near-shore, and estuarine areas. Datasets are provided by a number of partners, including Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the Maryland Energy Administration, Towson University, the University of Maryland, The Nature Conservancy, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In addition to coastal datasets, online tools have been developed to support better decision-making and help concerned citizens address specific coastal issues. Click on the links below to access Marylandís ocean, coastal hazard, and estuarine themed data.
Ocean Use and Resources Data – View ocean data to understand and balance multiple ocean uses, including shipping, offshore renewable energy, recreation and fishing. Potential Atlas applications for ocean planning include: accessing information needed for coastal and ocean planning efforts; finding the best location for renewable energy projects; identifying potential conflicts so that they can then be avoided early in the planning process; or locating sand resources needed for beach replenishment.
Coastal Hazard and Shoreline Data – View coastal hazard data to better understand inundation risks from storm surge, sea level rise, and shoreline erosion. Potential Atlas applications for coastal hazard mitigation and planning include: identifying coastal areas subject to flooding from storm inundation and sea level rise to inform floodplain management, restoration targeting and emergency management; identifying areas of high erosion and visualizing potential shoreline positions in 50 years to inform shoreline management decisions; determining areas where living shorelines may be appropriate; or accessing the Comprehensive Shoreline Inventory to better understand riparian land use, bank condition, and shoreline features (erosion control and access structures) on a county by county basis. These data will assist in policy development at local and state levels of government.
Near-shore and Estuarine Data - View near-shore and estuarine data that describe critical tidal and near-shore aquatic resources and habitats and their surrounding landscapes. Potential Atlas applications for near-shore and estuarine management include: identifying coastal habitats where conservation and restoration activities can maintain and improve coastal resources; identifying future wetland areas under sea level rise scenarios where conservation or restoration activities are appropriate; or better understanding the current natural resource landscape to inform future uses and activities. A Blue Infrastructure Near-shore Assessment is available, which provides a detailed spatial assessment of coastal habitat, critical natural resources and associated human uses in the tidal waters and near-shore area of Marylandís coastal zone.
Datasets are provided by a number of partners, including Maryland Department of Natural Resources, Towson University, the Maryland Energy Administration, Maryland Geological Survey, the University of Maryland, The Nature Conservancy, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Other Sources of Coastal Data
MarineCadastre.gov is an integrated marine information system that provides ocean data, offshore planning tools, and technical support to the offshore renewable energy community. MarineCadastre.gov was developed in a partnership between the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coastal Services Center and the Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management.
Digital Coast is a partnership and community resource initiated by the NOAA Coastal Services Center for use by those organizations that manage the nation’s coastal resources. The website was developed to provide access to data relevant to the coast, as well as the tools and methods to turn these data into useful information, increasing user efficiency and effectiveness.
The MARCO Portal is an online toolkit and resource center that consolidates available data and serves as a platform to engage all stakeholders in ocean planning from the five-state Mid-Atlantic region - putting all of the essential data and state-of-the-art mapping and visualization technology into the hands of the agencies, industry, and community leaders engaged in ocean planning.
MD iMap is a diverse and flexible “system” that access to a centralized collection of the most commonly used map data, such as roads, streams, place names, and detailed imagery. MD iMap brings together decades of work on spatial database development into a shared architecture that promotes collaboration, coordination and communication amongst Municipal, County, Regional, State and Federal government activities.
Marylandís Coastal Atlas and the International Coastal Atlas Network (ICAN)
Maryland is one of over 60 states, countries and regions that have developed Atlases and are members of the International Coastal Atlas Network (ICAN). ICAN is a community of practice for organizations that have been working to scope and implement data application and coastal web atlas (CWS) development. The mission and strategic aim of ICAN is to share experiences and find common solutions to coastal wed atlas development, while ensuring maximum relevance and added value for the end users. The ICAN community can provide user and developer guides, handbooks and articles on best practices, information on standards and web services, expertise and technical support directories, education, outreach and funding opportunities, among other resources.
To learn more about ICAN, visit http://ican.science.oregonstate.edu/.
Chesapeake & Coastal Service
Maryland Department of Natural Resources
Tawes State Office Building E-2
580 Taylor Avenue
Annapolis, Maryland 21401