The data collected in a MapCoast inventory fully compliment and build on each other, and each provide unique insights into shallow coastal ecosystems. For example, bathymetry and aerial imagery is used to delineate shallow water landscapes and determine sampling locations, sonar and SPI images are used to determine the surface composition and condition of benthic habitats, and core and auger samples provide subsurface data including grain size and organic matter content. In addition, lab samples are collected using coring devices and the physical (color, grain size, color, % gravel, % shells and magnetic potential) and chemical (salinity, pH, organic carbon, and metal content) parameters are measured. By collecting data at various scales (landscape to lab), the products provide a suite of information that taken together provide a resource inventory that is a complete and accurate description of shallow water habitats.
One goal of the MapCoast project is to integrate these data layers into one GIS dataset that incorporates all of the critical information found in these datasets. The synthesis of these data layers is ongoing; and in addition, MapCoast is working with NOAA for contributions to the Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification System for use in classifying MapCoast mapping units.