Aggregates Database and GIS Meeting,
November 12, 1999
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Philadelphia District Office, Philadelphia,
Purpose of Meeting
Proposed Metadata format
Participant Address List
To review databases and GIS developments, in-hand or underway, on offshore
aggregate resources, applications, and related environmental and management
issues. The objective is to share information being developed by various
organizations to foster interaction, and plan cooperative database and
GIS products relating to the New York and New Jersey areas. This meeting
will be focused on the two-state area. It is expected that this experience
in cooperative product development will lead to extension to other parts
of the continental margin.
Lucas, Chief of Planning Section, USACE Philadelphia District
Introductions: Charles Chesnutt, USACE HQ: See Philadelphia
Goals & User needs: Charles Chesnutt
to link users and data developers and explore how to make all data available
to everyone. At the August 30 steering committee meeting it was agreed
to begin a demonstration project in the NY-NJ area. It has a great need
for offshore sediments to restore beaches, as well as need for capping
materials for past dumpings. It is the location of activities by many
agencies and organizations. It has more Corps of Engineers projects
per mile than anywhere else. Insights from a demonstration project on
how to work together in mapping, using, and managing offshore sediments
could be exported to the rest of the country.
committees in the past often worked independently, focusing on given
lead agencies. Now committees are working more closely together and
expect cooperation by federal agencies. The Corps of Engineers is expected
to utilize contributions by other agencies.
Lynn Bocamazo, NY District of USACE has extensive analog (undigitized)
data from the 1960s 1995. Since 1995 Coop with USGS has undertaken
geophysical surveys of S. Shore LI and inner Bays. These data are digital.
The goal is to understand nature & distribution of sediment. About
600 vibracores are available from the S. Shore of Long Island and northern
N.J. Up to recently the main resource of specific sediment information
was original vibracore work of Jeff Williams and ICONN data (paper). Most
data are within 3-mile limit. Adequate sand resources have been identified
for southern NY Bight (e.g. Coney Island) but NJ requirements are not
fully identified. NY District would like to expand knowledge > 3 miles.
A problem is funding to expand database.
Q & discussion:
Corps might justify additional work, but a pooled resource approach
among agencies has best prospects (Chesnutt); USGS needs specific purposes
(justification) for new database efforts (Butman). Money
can be saved and value lies in establishing metadata (and contact individuals)
for repositories, and links to legacy databases, and agreeing on structures
for collection of new data (Pope, Bruzewicz). State agencies, universities,
and private users are also interested (Kenny). Intermar (MMS) has attempted
to develop cooperation among collectors and users in federal & state
waters off South Carolina area (Eric Treml) on: boundary (Rowland).
Cindy Fowler & NESDIS is active in this effort. We could use map
with metadata on each available database (Chesnutt).
Susan Lucas: Philadelphia District, USACE: 220 million cu yards
of sand are needed, whereas, 170 mcy are identified for NJ Delaware
coastal requirements. District has utilized GIS with special emphasis
on autocad (Brian Marcella, design engineer), but much data remains in
analog format. 600 vibracores are available along NJ - Delaware coast,
including Delaware Bay; 300-400 miles acoustic survey lines. New contracts
require digital format and genocide indexing (including photographs).
Most of these are within 3 miles of coast. Most vibracores have been given
to Delaware Geological Survey (Newark), which has a refrigerated core
repository. There are some funds for technical database development. Some
problems, like sediment grain-size classification systems remain pose
difficulties for data utilization.
Jane Uptegrove NJGS.
The N.J. Geological Survey has compiled earlier USGS seismic studies,
and has actively explored potential offshore aggregate resource tracts.
It has worked with Bob Sheridan at Rutgers and students in assessing sediment
environments. Current studies include cores taken and worked up since
early 1990s (published 1995). The geological model changes northward.
Hundreds of cores are not yet tabulated. ICONN studies remain a significant
resource. NJGS has utilized cores from USACE Philadelphia district, thanks
to Dan Kelley, and cooperated in biological assessments. NJGS does not
have adequate storage capacity. Steve Allen, biologist (USACE) has worked
in cooperation with NJGS and built a limited GIS in MapInfo for biological
resources (especially benthic communities) on a project-by-project basis
to overlay on borrow sites. Shellfish growing areas are a priority concern.
MapInfo can be used without extensive GIS training, but permits conversion
to ArcInfo and ArcView. Construction of larger integrated database is
a challenge, however. Ancillary studies include a 1995 summary published
by Stockton State College deliverable to NJ DEP. Zehdra Allen-Lafayette
discussed cores and logs, especially work in Townsend Inlet. NJGS uses
same subcontractor for well drilling, as does the Philadelphia Corps District.
Aubrey Consultants have assisted with wave modelling. Cooperation is maintained
with NJ DEP (B. Moore and others).
Discussion: There are commonly difficulties in obtaining funding
to put hard-copy data into digital format. For Coney Island we have
needs covered for 50 years. NJ has resources for 50 years, as well,
but too far away (Bocamazo). Re: "adequate resources for database
development", years down the line, are we going to need to know
more than we know now? (Pope). Long Island has half its needs identified.
New cores are needed. Corps can provide funding to ensure these are
collected properly. Florida has some current sand sources, but
recovery is becoming increasingly restricted, or impacted by contamination.
This initiative provides ability to amass what we know, and what we
need in the future.
Standards are important, and are not guaranteed by software (Inglin).
Butman: Documentation (knowing what was done) may be preferable to stipulating
that one must perform studies based on given protocols. Old DBASE databases
limited field names to 10 characters. Pope: Geotech databases and pockets
of technology exist in every organization. We need a cost-effective
method for rendering data useful and available, at least what is available.
"Heres whats available, and here are contacts on how
to get it". This would respond to "the Executive Order regarding
the Data Clearinghouse". Precedents include regional groundwater
model with USGS partner, federal highway coring logs.
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Joan Pope, USACE Engineering Research and Development Center (ERDC).
All Corps of Engineers labs have been consolidated now: For example,
the former CERC is now part of the Coastal & Hydraulic lab, Andy Bruzewicz
represents the Cold Regions Laboratory (remote sensing). Other labs include
Geotechnical and Environmental. Part of the current CH lab task includes
geologic framework, identifying borrow sites, and developing sediment
transport models for coastal and shallow marine areas. Other tasks include
wave hindcasting and other coast-wide information. Specific model include
SHOAL, which contains data from the 1850s on), and ADCIR (Advection
& circulation) tide, storm-induced water levels and current fields.
CH assists Corps districts in managing offshore drifts and storm effects.
It is currently undertaking detailed study of the S. Coast of Long Island,
including shoreline change, erosion and accretion. These studies include
LIDAR mapping of underwater areas and adjoining land. The DMSMART database
incorporates data on shallow and marine water, incorporating all information
required to manage dredging and aggregate resource use.
Dave Inglin, SAIC, Newport RI, on contract with USACE: Engaged
in Atlantic coast geologic monitoring and data collection as authorized
by Congress. Baseline information including sediment data is compiled
into a database (DANY), which allows people to view data together with
aerial photos and beach profiles. Most data is regional; with emphasis
on the south coast of LI. Ungeoreferenced photos are stored in order collected.
No immediate plans to place on web, although Corps is committed to collect
data and have available for public use. As mentioned above, standards
are important to permit reliable interfacing of data. The State of NY
was heavily oriented to collect data, but did not spend money to permit
effective use of data.
Discussion: Pope: Funding beach profiles 2-x year, for 5 years.
Roger Amato, MMS: Main MMS GIS/ web system is TIMS (technical
information management system). This technical database emphasizes drilling,
royalty management, mainly oil & gas. It also contains socioeconomic
information, environmental information, especially in Gulf of Mexico.
It utilizes standard OCS 3x3 mile square blocks, which extend to edge
of shelf. It contains little sand and gravel data. When states started
running out of sand six years ago they began to put money into aggregate
resource potentials. MMS does no in-house research, but contracts research
with states. The sand & gravel program began in N.J., at Towson Inlet,
and moved upcoast. Since that time programs were developed with MD, Del,
VA, N& S. Carolina, FL, Alabama; Most are still active. Each receives
a small amount of money matched by the state. The stability of funding
has been important. As a small regulatory agency MMS needs finished products
rather than just databases. These are desired to include geological information
and data in ArcView compatible format. An emerging research issue is deep
water frozen gas, a concern of the Dept. of Energy.
Frank Manheim, USGS (EMRT and CMG, Reston VA). The USGS offshore
aggregates project has three elements: 1) Design (now completed) and transfer
of Atlantic coast legacy sediment databases to a unified relational DB
in Microsoft ACCESS (upgradeable in future); 2) compilation of, linkage
with, and publication of more comprehensive offshore sediment databases
in cooperation with other organizations, and 3); the interagency GIS project.
Introduction of B. Butman.
Brad Butman, USGS, CMG Woods Hole.
The Woods Hole Coastal & Marine Geologys NY Bight project
emphasizes identifying coastal sand resources and processes, and longterm
fate of sediments and associated contaminants. In cooperation with USACE
it is mapping the Bight & S. Long Island by means of sidescan sonar
mosaicking, high-resolution seismic profiling, and multibeam bathymetry
and backscatter mapping. These measurements and sediment texture &
bottom photography are used to interpret sediment thickness and dynamics.
Synthesis reports and ArcView products are expected by end of FY 2000.
Prominent features are sand-wave systems, the Hudson Shelf Valley, and
dumped deposits. Butman also displayed a GIS library created cooperatively
by many organizations for Massachusetts Bay (Butman
and Lindsay, ed., 1999: A Marine
GIS Library for Massachusetts Bay, USGS Open-File Report 99-439.) It includes
multibeam maps of topography & texture, fish distribution, physical
oceanography, coastlines, etc. Data are in Mercator and UTM coordinates.
A simple index-card size metadata register employed in the above work
attracted interest. The product from "as is" contributions was
finished in 6 months. Copies will be available from B. Butman (see address
Maureen Kenny: Coast Survey, NOAA. One of the goals of the Spatial
Synergy project was to produce seamless bathymetric coverage, and ancillary
data (e.g. wrecks, obstructions) in a user-friendly, multi-user GIS. The
approach is not limited to ESRI products, but should be viewable in ArcView.
A prototype web site is planned for next year. A current focus is cooperative
research with USGS in Tampa Bay. Previous bathymetric compilations used
all data. The current effort will use most recent data with common datums.
It is desired to incorporate 2nd (other government) and 3rd
party (private industry) data. Other products include a national shoreline
DB. Cindy Fowler and colleagues in South Carolina tie into effort. NOAA
data is mean low low water, to be referenced to the ellipsoid. Web site:
CADS.nos.noaa.gov (Coastal Assessment and Data System).
Discussion: (Chesnutt). Corps has been given authority to prepare
new report on erosion, its causes & economic import. Must use NOAA
(shoreline & bathymetry) and USGS (regional sediment processes)
assistance. Kenny: a 1-mile is established for national parks, such
as National Seashore. Web site CADS.nos.noaa.gov Coastal Assessment
and Data System. Includes population and pollution sources, land uses,
counties freshwater salinity, etc. allows make own map. Download digital
data. Build map.
Eric Treml: Ocean GIS project.
Goal is data pertinent to hazard mitigation,
fisheries, in the Georgia-Florida area (200-mile limit). Technical development
in Charleston includes Internet mapping package, web site; jurisdictional
boundaries; spatial footprint. Marpol. Click on map and get federal laws.
Jurisdictional: Coast Guard, NOAA, Army, Park, and MMS. Web site has links
to benthic habitat data, dredged material disposal sites, etc. at 1: 24,000
(USGS topo maps). Site uses new presentation system, which is still buggy
but will become an effective display. Current centralized information
will be decentralized.
Wayne Wilmot and Charles Sun, NODC,
NOAA. Seeks integrated coastal data and information management system,
focusing on documentation of water column data in coastal regions, including
historical record. Objective includes real-time information for hazards
mitigation. The compilation procedure includes acquiring many small databases
scattered over huge area. The Coastal Ocean Laboratory database holds
approximately 55,000 profiles on line. The Distributed Object Technology
server (DOT) permits retrieval and visualization of ocean current dynamics
by time interval, TS diagrams, latitude ranges. It also provides unified
central access to other databases online. The integration of legacy applications
by "wrapping" data with DOT interfaces will grow as use warrants.
Other NOAA data centers include
NGDC (geophysical data), Boulder CO, Ocean, NC (GIS server), NOAA Coast
Watch (AVHRR SST images). IDARS System architecture. Cooperation
with CHSLC, PMEL, JOSS.
Peter Rona, Rutgers University. Marine and Coastal Research Institute
is enthusiastic about contributing to contribute to effort. The Institute
maintains unique undersea observatory, 1-2 miles offshore at Tuckerton,
N.J. It is instrumented to collect real-time data for satellite link and
shore station. Investigators are researching erosion, transport and deposition
relating to sand ridge (Scott Glenn). Feedback between model and collection
data. Other products are circulation-transport model for the NY Bight
(focused on Port area), and cooperative research by Bob Sheridan with
NJ Geological Survey. Includes seismic work on sand inventory for USACE.
Biological information. Rutgers actively involved in national committee
developing ocean life census and biodiversity inventory.
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Organizations not present: NMFS Sandy Hook, NJ DEP, Stevens Institute,
SUNY Stony Brook (Henry Bokuniewicz), Lamont-Doherty, NMFS, Hudson River
Foundation (excellent library), EPA, Region II and III, NY DEC,
NY Geological Survey, NY Dept. State CZM, Lindsay, NOAA HAZMAP, Nick Coch,
Demonstration project (NY-NJ boundaries), NOAA NESDIS/ NODC/NMFS activities,
"Granularity" of data: how should one aggregate data, program
levels, scale, clean capping issue, sediment cores, role of interpretive
studies, references, global metadata and common formatting; forward project
planning, static vs. dynamic display, contours; how big a group should
control data; endpoints, data quality, scientific editing, publication
modes. Top down (Assistant Secretaries) or working level up? Unified database
vs. portal access, where databases are retained by host organization?
GIS content sand only or broader data). "The freight train
is fish habitat" (Chesnutt).
- DISCOVERY: First step is to develop metadata on all available databases
and GIS from currently participating organizations - seek others as
- DELIVERY: The next step is to link digital databases and GIS
- CONTENT STANDARDS: Collection goals and content standards (as opposed
to format standards) "virtual databases": geologic, biologic,
- VIRTUAL DATABASES. Virtual databases can include large databases that
sweep up smaller ones and independent databases. These are linked electronically
through communication and cooperation. The virtual systems include information
on contacts and analog data resources.
- FILL IN METADATA TABLE (with any suggested revisions) - see Proposed
- PUBLISH METADATA RESULTS (and any additional revisions to above summary
in cooperating web sites http://coast-enviro.er.usgs.gov/sediment/
and other linked sites)
- ESTABLISH MEETING DATE (February ?) to work on steps 1, 2 and 3
(web sites may not be hotlinked in some recipients e-mail but
can be implemented by pasting address into URL of browser).