Statewide Repository and Interactive Map of Coastal Elevation Profiles for Alaska

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Alex Gould, Nicole Kinsman and Lauren Southerland, Alaska Division of Geological and Geophysical Surveys, Fairbanks, AK, United States
Beach elevation profiles are a type of temporal coastal data that can be used to better understand coastal environments, document change and assess hazard vulnerability. The value of these measurements increases when sites are revisited seasonally and/or interannually to capture the dynamic range of coastal landforms. Static measurements of the shoreface have been collected by a number of stakeholders in Alaska since the 1960s, but, have not historically been published or made readily accessible. In cooperation with the Alaska Ocean Observing System, the Alaska Division of Geological & Geophysical Surveys (DGGS) has designed a universal data repository to house these coastal measurements. This new database has an interactive map interface that enables easy access to existing profile locations to encourage repeat observations. Users can explore profile measurements collected by DGGS and others as time-series plots and location-based images of the shoreface environment. The database has been designed to accommodate datasets collected with differing techniques, including differential leveling, survey-grade GPS or extraction from lidar-derived digital elevation models. Non-DGGS profile measurements, including community-led efforts, University of Alaska project datasets, and archived United States Geological Survey coastal profiles have also been incorporated into the database and contributions from other entities are welcomed. In addition to exhibiting the new interactive map capabilities, we also provide a case study example from Yakutat, Alaska illustrating how this tool can be incorporated into broader investigations of coastal dynamics and how these measurements can augment shoreline change assessments. The readily accessible nature of this database also promotes local involvement in community-based coastal monitoring, also demonstrated in the Yakutat example.