More than half of all Americans, 153 million people, currently live on or near a coast and an additional 12 million are expected to move to the coasts over the next decade. Coastal counties average 300 persons per square mile, compared with the national average of 98. In recent years, more than 1,540 permits for construction of single-family homes were issued in coastal counties on a daily basis, combined with other commercial, retail and institutional development to support this population. Yet despite this population density and economic development, much of the 95,000 miles of U.S. shoreline does not have current, accurate maps and geospatial information; moreover, much of what does exist pre-dates the 1970s. Of America’s major ports, harbors and shipping areas, there is a 26,000 square nautical mile backlog that will take some 15 years to accurately update with current maps. Given the feverish pace of coastal growth and development, as well as natural and man-made phenomena that continually alter the characterization of the shoreline, the accuracy, consistency and currency of these coastal areas cannot be assured. Moreover, as Hurricane Katrina and the Asian tsunami demonstrated, the need for spatial data on our coasts is critical to emergency preparedness and emergency response.
House Bill H.R. 4738 Digital Coast Act
Senate Bill 2325 Digital Coast Act of 2015
Ruppersberger-Young Letter Requesting Hearing
MAPPS Issue Paper 2014
Digital Coast Project