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National Assessment of Shoreline Change: A GIS compilation of Updated Vector Shorelines and Associated Shoreline Change Data for the Gulf of Mexico Coast

April 16, 2015

Sandy ocean beaches in the United States are popular tourist and recreational destinations and constitute some of the most valuable real estate in the country.

The boundary between land and water along the coastline is often the location of concentrated residential and commercial development and is frequently exposed to a range of natural hazards, which include flooding, storm effects, and coastal erosion. In response, the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is conducting a national assessment of coastal change hazards. One component of this research effort, the National Assessment of Shoreline Change Project, documents changes in shoreline position as a proxy for coastal change. Shoreline position is an easily understood feature representing the historical location of a beach position through time.

This report is an update to the original Gulf of Mexico (Morton and others, 2004) assessment and includes revised rate-of-change calculations based on additional shoreline position data, improved rate metrics, and application of a proxy-datum bias correction that quantifies potential bias and errors associated with integrating shorelines referenced to different proxies. To be consistent with previous work, the Gulf of Mexico study areas were organized by state for analysis.