Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center



Computer Software for Calculating Shoreline Change (and other problems dealing with the positional change of a boundary over time)

image of inputs from multiple shorelines

The Digital Shoreline Analysis System (DSAS) is computer software that computes rate-of-change statistics from multiple historic shoreline positions residing in a GIS. It is also useful for computing rates of change for just about any other boundary change problem that incorporates a clearly-identified feature position at discrete times.

The DSAS software is freely available.

Current Version

The DSAS version 4.3.4730 for ArcGIS 10 is available here.  That link also provides an option to download DSAS version 4.2 for ArcGIS 9.x.  Please note that DSAS version 4.2 is not compatible with Windows 7 operating systems.

If you use DSAS version 4.x, please cite the following publication:
Thieler, E.R., Himmelstoss, E.A., Zichichi, J.L., and Ergul, Ayhan, 2009, Digital Shoreline Analysis System (DSAS) version 4.0— An ArcGIS extension for calculating shoreline change: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2008-1278.


A public bulletin board for users to exchange tips and techniques with other DSAS users is available here.

In Development

Development on a web application version of DSAS, called DSASweb, is ongoing. There is not a publicly-available version at this time. If you have questions about DSASweb, please contact DSAS_help@usgs.gov.


Uninstall patch for DSAS version 4.x
This patch is ONLY for users who uninstalled ArcGIS 9.x before uninstalling DSAS version 4.x. Please note, when upgrading to a new version of ArcGIS, it is best to first uninstall custom ArcGIS extensions (such as DSAS). DSAS was developed using standard Esri-recommended methodology, but unfortunately cannot be removed if ArcGIS has already been uninstalled from the system. If ArcGIS 9.x was uninstalled (typical during a version update to ArcGIS 10) before uninstalling DSAS, the Esri libraries DSAS requires to unregister itself are no longer available. For users who find themselves unable to uninstall DSAS, use this patch.
Conversion utility

Conversion utility
DSAS transects created in the previous DSAS version 2x (for ArcView 3.x) can now be imported for use in DSAS version 4 using the stand-alone utility available for download at http://woodshole.er.usgs.gov/project-pages/dsas/Transect_converter/DSAS_convert_transects.zip


The DSAS software was originally developed in the early 1990’s and has undergone continuous, albeit episodic refinement. DSAS version 1.0 (1992) was written in the C and awk programming languages for use with the MapGrafix and ArcInfo Geographic Information Systems. DSAS version 2.0 was written in Avenue for ArcView 3.x. DSAS version 3.x (ArcGIS 9), DSAS version 4.2 (ArcGIS 9) and DSAS version 4.3.4730 (ArcGIS 10) were written in VB.NET using the ArcObjects Object Library for ArcGIS.

Each version of DSAS includes many improvements that are described in the documentation. Typically, we concentrate our efforts on improving the rate-of-change statistics and the user interface.

Previous Versions (unsupported)

The DSAS 3.0 is available at http://woodshole.er.usgs.gov/project-pages/dsas/version3 and should be cited as:
Thieler, E.R., Himmelstoss, E.A., Zichichi, J.L., and Miller, T.L., 2005, Digital Shoreline Analysis System (DSAS) version 3.0: An ArcGIS extension for calculating shoreline change: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2005-1304.

The DSAS 2.0 is available at http://woodshole.er.usgs.gov/project-pages/dsas/version2 and should be cited as:
Thieler, E. R., Martin, D., and Ergul, A., 2003, The Digital Shoreline Analysis System, version 2.0: Shoreline change measurement software extension for ArcView: USGS U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 03-076.

The original DSAS version 1.0 is documented here http://pubs.er.usgs.gov/pubs/ofr/ofr92355 and should be cited as:
Danforth, W. W., and Thieler, E. R., 1992, Digital Shoreline Analysis System (DSAS) User's Guide, Version 1.0: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 92-355, 42 p.

Related Publications

Thieler, E.R., and Danforth, W.W., 1994. Historical shoreline mapping (I): improving techniques and reducing positioning errors. Journal of Coastal Research, v. 10, no. 3, p. 549-563.

Thieler, E.R., and Danforth, W.W., 1994. Historical shoreline mapping (II): application of the Digital Shoreline Mapping and Analysis Systems (DSMS/DSAS) to shoreline change mapping in Puerto Rico. Journal of Coastal Research, v. 10, no. 3, p. 600-620.

These pages are provisional and contain computer applications or scripts that may be changed without notice as new versions or revisions of the material are created. Although this program has been used by the USGS, no warranty, expressed or implied, is made by the USGS or the United States Government as to the accuracy and functioning of the program and related program material nor shall the fact of distribution constitute any such warranty, and no responsibility is assumed by the USGS in connection therewith.

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This page last modified on Wednesday, 02-Apr-2014 15:51:29 EDT