Coastal GeoTools 2017


One of my favorite conferences, Coastal GeoTools, has rolled around again (Feb 6-9, 2017 in Charleston, SC), so let’s take a look at what’s new and interesting this time. You can follow along with the program link. Thanks to ASFPM for putting the conference on again!geotools-logo_vert

Digital Coast 10-year Anniversary

This year’s Coastal GeoTools coincides with the 10-year anniversary of the NOAA Digital Coast. There are sure to be plenty of references to Digital Coast at the conference, but the one I’d like to point out as an opportunity for you is the usability testing. A couple dozen folks will get a chance to sit down, use the web site, and let us know where we can do better. I believe there will be some sort of sign up, so look for it if you’d like to help us out. We’d really appreciate it. Come to the NOAA booth in the exhibit hall to sign up for the testing. We’ll only do a couple dozen, so sign up early.

Rhode Scholar Presentation

We were fortunate enough to have Jory Fleming work with us as a NOAA Hollings Scholar in 2016. Since then he was selected as a Rhode Scholar and will soon be off to Oxford. He’ll be presenting Visualizing Sea Level Rise to Examine the Nexus of Climate Change and SocioEconomic Security on Wednesday morning of the conference. If you’d like to see a fine example of what today’s youth are capable of, make sure you go to presentation C09.

Keynote by John Englander

John Englander is the president of the Rising Seas Group. He’ll be talking about myths, misinformation, and misunderstanding in his Top 10 Lies About Sea Level Rise. It is sure to be both informative and entertaining. He may also give you a new way to think about the issue. I’m not a fan of every conference keynote, but this looks like a good one to me and I’m looking forward to it.

Tools Showcase X 2

This year there were so many tools to showcase, they were split into two sessions of 15 tools each. This has been a very popular avenue for tool users to interact with tool creators for a win-win result. I’ll try to overcome my bias toward the tools I’m involved with (e.g. Data Access Viewer and US Interagency Elevation Inventory – did I mention bias?) and mention some others that look interesting.

  • SeaSketch: A Software Service for Collaborative Planning. This is the tool currently being used by federal agencies to coordinate elevation data acquisition plans for both the wet side (IWG-OCM) and the dry side (3DEP). It can be used for a lot more though and it’s creators will be there to show you.
  • Land Use Web Portal. This is a tool that is already in use by American Samoa to aid land use permitting. It may be a good model that can be transferred to other areas too.
  • Beach Profiling Monitoring Web Application. This appears to be the beginning of a one-stop shop for beach information in South Carolina. At a minimum, a stop by this tool is a great opportunity to swap lessons learned by states trying to provide comprehensive beach info.
  • GANDALF: A Decision Support System for AUV Operators in the GOM. A support tool for autonomous underwater vehicles that looks to have some very nice capabilities to bring in ancillary data showing current conditions. While I don’t do anything with AUVs myself, this looks worth checking out as the concepts of environmental awareness are transferable to other work.

Of course, I didn’t mention the tool that will be of most interest to you since I don’t know which one that is. You’ll have to get out there and find it yourself!

Wednesday Lunch Talk

The lunch talk for this go-round is by the NOAA National Ocean Service Deputy Assistant Administrator Nicole LeBoeuf. She’ll be talking about NOS priorities and how they’re supported by geospatial activities. The relevance of those priorities to the public good is sure to be in there too.

C-CAP High Res

Many of you may be familiar with the 30-meter moderate resolution land cover product known as C-CAP. It’s the coastal expression of the NLCD. NOAA/OCM is moving toward monitoring all coastal areas at a 1 meter resolution. A presentation (B15 on Tuesday afternoon) will discuss the details of this transition and the potential for states to leverage this effort to obtain high resolution land cover in their states. This is a significant change and opportunity for those involved in land cover. I hope we’ll see you there.

Elevation and More Elevation

I can’t end this without mentioning that there are lots of elevation related sessions. Some are obvious, such as “Emerging Methods in Lidar”, “Elevation data: Collection, Creation, and Dissemination”, “Datums and DEMS: Latest and Greatest Data, Tools, and Methods”, “Measuring Quality and Uncertainty in Elevation Mapping”, and “Topo/Bathy Lidar Collection and Visualization”. In addition to that strong showing of sessions, there are some elevation talks hidden in more general sessions. In particular, be sure to check out the talks in the “Advances to National Data Access” session. Here’s the program link again in case you missed it.

I’m looking forward to seeing everyone at the conference. This time around I should be easy to spot as I’ll be zipping around on a blue knee scooter and trying to keep one foot off the floor. If you want the story, you’ll have to come ask.

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