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Spatial Data Visualization Tools

Coastal Resilience | TNC
The Coastal Resilience project provides communities, planners, businesses, and elected officials with easy access to information on projected coastal changes due to sea level and storm events coupled with solutions for coastal planning, land protection, and comprehensive management actions.

Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Impacts Viewer | NOAA
Visualizing potential impacts from sea level rise is an important tool in climate adaptive conservation.  This tool allows you to view several sea level rise scenarios and associated impacts to coastal wetlands, which can help land trusts prioritize areas for conservation. The viewer is available for most of the Gulf and all of Florida with NOAA working to expand it nationally.

Coastal County Snapshots | NOAA
The Coastal County Snapshots turn complex data into easy-to-understand stories, complete with charts and graphs.  Users select a coastal county and snapshot of interest to get a quick look at the county's flood exposure, ocean jobs, or wetland benefits.  This information helps local planners and conservation organizations in prioritizing conservation areas to abate the impacts of floods and maintain important ecosystem services that natural resources provide.  It can also assist in communicating the importance of conserving areas that provide ecosystems services and will better enable climate adaptation.  View a recorded webinar about the snapshots here.

Coastal Vulnerability Maps and Study – U.S. East Coast and Texas | EPA
The maps included in this data set show the elevation of coastal areas from Massachusetts to Florida.  A sea level rise planning study – which integrates information related to land use, zoning, and anticipated development to determine the future likelihood of shore protection and prevention of inland wetland migration – is also included.  This study covers coastal areas from Massachusetts to Florida, and Texas.

Land Cover Atlas | NOAA
The land cover atlas is a new web-based tool for exploring land cover (C-CAP) change over time at the county level.  Documenting changes in the landscape can alert communities to emerging trends, information that is useful when predicting and assessing cumulative impacts in the light of climate stressors, such as sea level rise.  Information on current condition can be used to assess resilience to future scenarios and to highlight areas where these impacts may need to be addressed.  The tool can help with local conservation or land use planning and can enhance communication and decision-making through summary reports and data tables.

National Atlas | USFWS
National Atlas is a Department of Interior map-making tool that helps researchers analyze issues related to climate change, carbon in the environment, biodiversity loss, and changes in ecosystems. The information will also support nongovernmental organizations, government decision makers and other users with an interest in land cover dynamics, conservation and continental-scale patterns of North America’s changing environment. The map-making tool is available here.

NOAA's State of the Coast | NOAA
This website provides quick facts and detailed statistics through interactive indicator visualizations that provide highlights of what we know about coastal communities, coastal ecosystems, the coastal economy, and how climate change might impact the coast.  The website also offers case studies and management success stories that highlight often complex connections across the four state of the coast themes:  coastal communities, ecosystems, economy, and climate.  For more information contact:

Spatial Trends in Coastal Socioeconomics Quick Report Tool | NOAA
Coastal socioeconomic data allows users to gain insights into socioeconomic trends in the nation’s rapidly developing coastal regions that can be used to inform decisions on conservation priorities in light of climate change. The quick report tool uses a map-based interface to quickly determine demographic and economic characteristics for a wide variety of coastal management jurisdictions.  It summarizes key socioeconomic data sets, creates customized quick reports and graphs of targeted demographic and economic data in jurisdictions of interest, and allows for download of summary data.   

The Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model (SLAMM) View | USFWS
The USFWS has released a internet tool that allows the public to view simulations of sea level rise.  This program is designed to help people understand the potential impacts of climate change on sea levels.  This web browser-based application displays map pairs of the same area, each at different sea levels. The strength of this tool is its ability to visually show the modeling of sea level rise predictions, allowing people to see the impacts in a more intuitive way.

U.S. Interagency Elevation Inventory | NOAA
The U.S. Interagency Elevation Inventory provides a comprehensive listing of known high-accuracy topographic and bathymetric data for the U.S. and its territories.  Elevation data is necessary to develop coastal elevation models and are critical components when looking at sea level rise, coastal flooding, beach nourishment, erosion, or any other processes that occur within the land-water interface.

Download these software tools and perform your own analyses

BASINS Climate Assessment Tool (CAT) | EPA
BASINS is a multi-purpose, environmental analysis system that integrates a geographical information system (GIS), national watershed data, and advanced watershed modeling tools, including the Hydrologic Simulation Program FORTRAN (HSPF) model, into one package.  It can be used to assess the coupled effects of climate and land use change, and to guide the development of effective management responses. A report providing documentation and user support materials for the tool is available at here.

CanVis | NOAA
CanVis is a simple software program that allows users to visualize potential impacts of coastal development or climate change (inundation, SLR) allowing conservation planners and stakeholders to better understand the impacts of their decisions.  Training is available on how to use this tool and information on the training can be found here.

Habitat Priority Planner (HPP) | NOAA
A geographic information system (GIS) tool for identifying and prioritizing areas for conservation, restoration and land use planning. The tool can be used in conjunction with climate change data to assess potential impacts on fragmentation/connectivity and prioritize areas for conservation based on those impacts. Classroom and e-learning trainings are available on how to use this tool and information on the training can be found here.

Integrated Climate and Land Use Scenarios (ICLUS) GIS Tool | EPA
The primary aim of the ICLUS tool is to develop future land use scenarios based on potential trajectories for population growth, greenhouse gas emissions, and socio-economic changes, as used by climate change modelers. EPA is currently circulating the tool for external peer review.  Download a report describing the scenarios and models used to create the tool.

Open-source Nonpoint Source Pollution and Erosion Comparison Tool (OpenN-SPECT) | NOAA
OpenN-SPECT is a GIS tool that helps conservation practitioners quickly and easily identify land areas that generate high sediment and nonpoint source pollutant loads. This is increasingly important in regions experiencing rapid development and other land use conversions. OpenN-SPECT’s scenario analysis functionality allows people to test the relative effectiveness of different land cover management options on sediment and pollutant yields. Additionally, the impacts of changing climatic regimes can be tested with knowledge of potential changes to soils, precipitation, and land cover. The map-based outputs are easily incorporated into planning documents and are useful visualizations in public forums. For more information, contact

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