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Study analyses benefits of NOAA’s Coastal Mapping Program

US: An independent socio-economic scoping study, conducted by Leveson Consulting, revealed that for every dollar American taxpayers spend on National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) National Geodetic Survey (NGS) Coastal Mapping Program, they receive more than USD 35 in benefits.
The programme provides critical baseline data for accurately mapping America’s official shoreline—important for national security, maritime shipping and navigation, and provides geographical reference data needed to manage, develop, conserve and protect coastal resources. The study demonstrated the programme’s contributions in marine safety, geographic information, resource management, and emergency response and the wide range of economic and societal activities it supports.

Through a press statement, David Kennedy, assistant NOAA administrator for the National Ocean Service stated, “This is a great investment for taxpayers. The coastal mapping programme FY11  budget of USD 6.8 million brought about USD 241 million annually in both direct and secondary economic benefits, as well as non-economic benefits such as those related to safety and the environment.”

The study also analysed the benefits to the nation of NOAA’s Coastal Mapping Program, which enhances coastal economies by providing accurate and consistent shoreline data.

Direct economic benefits of the programme alone were estimated at USD 100 million—15 times programme costs. The study estimated that NGS’s Coastal Mapping Program further supports 1,500 jobs outside of the programme. In addition to the economic data, the study also provides information on the programme’s customers and their uses of mapping data.

NOAA derives the shoreline data through various remote sensing technologies including aerial imagery, satellite imagery, Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR).

“In 2011, NGS delivered 7,800 miles of shoreline mapping that included 250 miles of California shoreline using new LiDAR-based procedures,” said Juliana Blackwell, NGS director. “Through partnerships with other federal agencies in LiDAR acquisition and with continued technological advances, NGS has demonstrated the ability to achieve a threefold increase in efficiency in some of our coastal projects.”

Source: NOAA News