Virginia Coastal Plain GIS Project

Science Center Objects

The USGS, with cooperation from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, is involved in several related and on-going regional projects directed at better characterization of this important resource. The large amount of information needed for these projects requires the development and integration of a Geographic Information System (GIS) spatial database to facilitate data management, analysis, and visualization. 

Problem

The Atlantic Coastal Plain aquifer system is a heavily-used water resource in Virginia. Daily ground-water withdrawals of more than 150 million gallons are an important part of the region’s water supply. Ground water is the source of drinking water for over 900,000 people in the Virginia Coastal Plain, and it is also an important component of withdrawals for industrial, agricultural, and commercial uses.

 

The USGS, with cooperation from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality and the Hampton Roads Planning District Commission, is involved in several related and on-going regional projects directed at better characterization of this important resource. The large amount of information needed for these projects requires the development and integration of a Geographic Information System (GIS) spatial database to facilitate data management, analysis, and visualization. 

Objective

The general objective of this project is the development of a comprehensive database to collect, catalog, analyze, and synthesize spatial and temporal data for the Coastal Plain of Virginia and adjacent areas of Maryland and North Carolina. Necessary components of this GIS include hydrogeologic framework unit geometries and properties, measured and estimated ground-water withdrawals, ground-water levels, ground-water geochemistry measurements, soil and land-cover data, locations and characteristics of surface-water features, digital elevation data, and population data. In addition to storing these data and allowing easy access and revision, the GIS should also facilitate incorporation of the data into Virginia Coastal Plain Ground-Water Model.

Relevance and Benefits

In addition to enhancing management, analysis, and visualization of data needed for the on-going projects, a well-developed GIS for the Virginia Coastal Plain will facilitate continual data revision and documentation, which will be beneficial for future applications. Access to the data will also be enhanced for cooperating public agencies. The GIS could also be further developed to allow access, visualization, and retrieval by the public through a web portal.

Approach

Use a GIS to collect and synthesize spatial data on all aspects of the Virginia Coastal Plain regional aquifer system in order to 1) facilitate continual updates to the hydrogeologic framework, 2) incorporate other spatial and temporal data such as reported ground-water withdrawals, and 3) integrate all data into the ground-water model. Data will be obtained from a variety of sources, including state and local agencies, other federal agencies, and other USGS projects and data-collection programs.