Data, Tools, and Technology

USGS provides data and tools to support the Nation’s preparedness and ability to respond to and recover from natural hazard events. Funds provided through the Congressional Sandy Supplemental Appropriation support USGS in enhancing many data display tools and data delivery mechanisms. These datasets and products are being produced across the Science Themes to meet the needs of emergency managers, planners, engineers, and scientists.

Screenshot of post-Sandy lidar elevations

Data Viewer—Post-Hurricane Sandy Lidar Elevations and Features

This viewer provides visualization for and accessibility to USGS lidar data obtained following Hurricane Sandy (October 2012). Access and download data and publications that include the source lidar data and the coastal dune and shoreline data needed to examine coastal change and erosion hazards.

Screenshot of Store-tide Mapper

USGS Storm-Tide Mapper and Data Services

The USGS Storm Tide Mapper is a tool for viewing, analyzing, and accessing storm tide data collected during and after hurricanes and Nor’easters. The USGS Storm Tide Mapper will continue to provide a unified and consistent source of real-time and archived storm-tide data.

Illustrated graphic of three mobile phones in a bucket to represent the icon for Coastal Change Hazards Portal

Coastal Change Hazards Portal

The USGS has developed a Coastal Change Hazards portal that provides users with direct access to basic and applied research, scientific information, and data on coastal hazards to see, explore, download, and share. Watch the Tutorial Video to get started.

A USGS scientists deploying storm-surge monitoring instruments along the coasts, sounds, and bays in impacted areas to gauge how high hurricanes push water in rivers, bays and other areas.

Decision Support for Ecological Recovery and Resilience

A wetland and storm surge-modeling project is developing models and data manipulation tools to support resource managers in assessing ecosystem recovery and resilience. NatureServe will be adapted to provide data visualization tools in impacted areas.

Screenshot of the Hazards Data Distribution System (HDDS) Explorer

USGS Hazards Data Distribution System

The USGS Hazards Data Distribution System (HDDS) provides quick and easy access to satellite and aerial imagery to support emergency response and recovery operations during natural or human-caused disasters.

Image map of the northeast coast. This Data Series contains lidar-derived bare-earth (BE) topography, dune elevations, and mean-high-water shoreline position datasets for most sandy beaches for Fire Island, New York, and from Cape Henlopen, Delaware to Cape Lookout, North Carolina. The data were acquired post-Hurricane Sandy, which made landfall as an extratropical cyclone on October 29, 2012.

Coastal Topography–Northeast Atlantic Coast, Post-Hurricane Sandy, 2012

This Data Series contains lidar-derived bare-earth (BE) topography, dune elevations, and mean-high-water shoreline position datasets for most sandy beaches for Fire Island, New York, and from Cape Henlopen, Delaware to Cape Lookout, North Carolina. The data were acquired post-Hurricane Sandy, which made landfall as an extratropical cyclone on October 29, 2012.

Image of a home in the northeast destroyed by Hurricane Sandy

National Assessment of Hurricane-Induced Coastal Erosion Hazards

USGS research focused on understanding the timing, magnitude, and variability of the impacts of hurricanes and extreme storms on the sandy beaches. The overall objective is to improve the capability to assess the vulnerability of the nation’s coasts to extreme storms and to predict actual coastal changes that results from specific storms. This capability provides critical support for managing coastal infrastructure, resources, and safety.

Image of three hands stacked one on top of the other to represent the Center for Integrated Data Analytics team work.

USGS Center for Integrated Data Analytics

Advancing a broader understanding of our world by fostering collaborations to integrate data across scales and domains, improve access to data and research, and develop tools for analysis and visualization.

Digital Coast Logo

Digital Coast

This NOAA-sponsored website is focused on helping communities address coastal issues and has become one of the most-used resources in the coastal management community. The dynamic Digital Coast Partnership is composed of members that represent the website's primary user groups.

Joint Ecosystem Modeling

A collaborative approach to modeling and standards.


Radar technologies are used to look at bird migration and habitat areas as well as ho bird populations are affected by extreme weather events.

Surface Elevation Table (SET) Network

SET Network is a mechanical leveling device for measuring relative sediment elevation changes in wetlands and marshes. Is often paired with marker horizon to explain processes behind elevation increases or decreases (i.e. sedimentation, shallow subsidence, etc.)

WaterWatch Flood

View a map of flood and high flow conditions in the U.S. Narrow down your search by selecting a state or water-resource region.

WaterWatch Current Streamflow

View a map of real-time streamflow conditions in the U.S. You are able to compare to historical streamflow data for a day of the year or narrow down your search by selecting a state or water-resource region.

Acoustic Doppler Current Profiling Technology

The use of acoustic Doppler current profilers (ADCPs) from a moving boat is now a commonly used method for measuring streamflow. The technology and methods for making ADCPbased discharge measurements are different from the technology and methods used to make traditional discharge measurements with mechanical meters

Environmental Health Toxic Substances

The Toxic Substances Hydrology Program provides objective scientific information on environmental contamination to improve characterization and management of contaminated sites, to protect human and environmental health, and to reduce potential future contamination problems.

Emerging Contaminants

Research is documenting with increasing frequency that many chemical and microbial constituents that have not historically been considered as contaminants are present in the environment on a global scale. These “emerging contaminants” are commonly derived from municipal, agricultural, and industrial wastewater sources and pathways. These newly recognized contaminants represent a shift in traditional thinking as many are produced industrially yet are dispersed to the environment from domestic, commercial, and industrial uses.

Methods Development

The need to understand the processes controlling emerging contaminant sources, transport and fate in the environment, and ecologic and human health effects has increased the need to study environmental occurrence down to trace levels. Methods are being developed to enhance our capabilities for measuring emerging chemical and microbial contaminants and their associated degradation products in the environment. Continual improvements in analytical equipment and capabilities bring looking for virtually any contaminant at lower and lower levels within the realm of possibility.

Transport and Fate

Research provides a basic understanding of the biologic, chemical, and hydrologic processes that affect partitioning into various environmental media (e.g. water, sediment and tissue) and chemical and microbial transformation. These processes can have a significant effect on the potential toxicity of a contaminant.

Ecological Effects

For most emerging contaminants, there is currently little information regarding their potential toxicological significance in ecosystems -- particularly effects from long-term, low-level environmental exposures.

Modeling Fluxes Between Watersheds, Wetlands, Estuaries and Coasts

This website describes several interdisciplinary projects that aim to quantify and understand flux mechanisms through observations and numerical modeling. Both the spatial and temporal timescales of these mechanisms are important, and therefore require modern instrumentation and state-of-the-art hydrodynamic models.

Aerial Photography

Coastal imagery of pre- and post storm conditions from Hurricane Sandy.

Before/After Photo Pairs

Photos pairs are used to compare the pre-storm and post-storm conditions at locations representing a broad range of coastal configurations and their response to the storm. Prestorm photos were acquired during a baseline survey May 21, 2009 and post-storm photos were acquired November 4-6, 2012.

Before/After LIDAR Topography

The USGS acquired an airborne LIDAR survey of post-storm topography of Fire Island on November 5, 2012, to measure coastal change resulting from Hurricane Sandy. Comparisons of the post-storm elevation data to LIDAR data collected prior to Sandy’s landfall are used to characterize the nature, magnitude, and spatial variability of hurricane-induced coastal changes, such as beach erosion, overwash deposition, and island breaching. These measurements complement field-based observations of coastal change that were collected immediately prior to and three days after landfall.