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The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has completed the second phase of releasing thousands of photos and videos of the seafloor and coastline through their Coastal and Marine Video and Photography Portal. 

Most of these marine and coastal scenes have never been seen before or mapped at this level of detail. A more accurate perspective of these areas helps coastal managers make important decisions that range from protecting habitats to understanding hazards and managing land use. 

Image: Massachusetts Seafloor
This photograph is of the seafloor off the Massachusetts coast and shows a lobster as well as boulders and sediment covered in seaweed, bubblegum algae and red filamentous algae. This photograph was collected as part of USGS research in collaboration with the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management to support development of the Massachusetts Ocean Management Plan and management of the state's waters.

This USGS portal is unique, due to the sheer quantity and quality of data presented. It is the largest database of its kind, providing detailed and fine-scale representations of the coast and seafloor. The “geospatial context” is also unique, with maps that display imagery in the geographic location where the images were recorded. 

Prior to development of the data portal, retrieving this imagery most often required internal USGS access with specific hardware and software. Furthermore, it was difficult to manage and challenging to share such a large amount of information. 

Image: Puget Sound Seafloor
This photograph is of the Puget Sound seafloor and shows a sandy area with partial hydroid and algae cover occupied by sea stars and small filter feeding worms. This image was collected as part of USGS efforts to help with rockfish recovery in the Puget Sound. Scientists are mapping their ecosystem and habitat to understand population distribution.

In early 2015, the USGS published imagery and video of California, Massachusetts, the Gulf of Mexico and the mid-Atlantic coasts. This second phase, now complete, includes Puget Sound, Hawaii, Alaska, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and Long Island Sound, as well as additional products from Massachusetts and nine pre-storm and post hurricane photo datasets from the Gulf and Atlantic Coasts. Video and photographs will be continuously added as they are collected; archived imagery will also be incorporated soon. 
Shoreline is crumbling into the water, and the land itself is interlocking polygons with brackish water in the centers.
This photograph shows ice-wedge polygons and an eroding shoreline at Cape Halkett on the Beaufort Sea coast of Alaska. Coastal erosion along the Arctic coast is chronic, widespread, and potentially accelerating, posing threats to infrastructure important for defense and energy purposes, natural shoreline habitats, and nearby Native communities. To help address these concerns, the USGS is collecting information on past and present shoreline changes along the conterminous United States and parts of Alaska and Hawaii.
Image: Scientists Explore Hawaii's Coast
Coral growth offshore of the Hawaiian Island of Kahoʻolawe has been significantly impacted by the island's deforestation and resulting erosion and sediment run-off into the nearshore environment. This image is of a coral reef in deeper waters offshore of Kahoʻolawe.

In total, approximately 165,500 photographs have been collected as well as 1,210 hours of trackline video covering almost 3,200 miles of coastline. 

Online tutorials are available to explain how to navigate the portal and also how to search the data catalog and work with multiple data layers

Learn more about USGS science by visiting the USGS Coastal and Marine Hazards Program website. 

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