As part of the mapping update, the legislation required the Critical Area Commission to implement a pilot project in two counties in order to develop a mapping methodology that could be applied throughout the Critical Area. The counties selected were Baltimore County and Talbot County.
The methodology that was developed involved the reproduction and rectification of historic shoreline and wetland data as a starting point. This information was then analyzed and interpreted relative to current true-color aerial imagery, Color-Infrared imagery (CIR), Light Detecting and Ranging (LIDAR) data, and topographic maps. In some cases, detailed project plans, permit data, and oblique photo imagery were also used to determine the extent of tidal wetlands and tidal influence in tributary streams. Limited site visits were performed to field verify on the ground conditions where tree cover restricted the view of the shoreline or where an analysis of the imagery did not allow for a clear determination.
Throughout the mapping pilot project, an interdisciplinary team of professionals from the Critical Area Commission, the Department of Natural Resources, Salisbury University, the Eastern Shore Regional GIS Cooperative, Baltimore County Department of Environmental Protection and Resource Management, and the Talbot County Planning Office identified review points that warranted further analysis. Representatives of these groups evaluated and discussed all questionable areas to reach consensus regarding the most appropriate resolution. Every effort was made to ensure consistency and accuracy.