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Coastal Communities Planning Atlas

 

What is the Texas Coastal Communities Planning Atlas?

  • The Coastal Atlas is a detailed and comprehensive web-based program providing information for anyone wanting to know more about the Texas coast. In 2014, it is the most comprehensive online, interactive database ever compiled about the Texas coast.

  • Coastal AtlasServing as a central access point for all geographic data related to twenty-nine coastal counties in Texas, the Atlas offers comprehensive information about every area of the Texas coast down not only to the city block, but also to an individual house or lot on that block

 

Why was the Atlas developed?

  • Hazards of living along the Texas coast are many. Flood zones are prevalent in most coastal areas and beach erosion.  And, in some areas, the shoreline is disappearing at the rate of 10 feetper year. Transportation issues, population issues and other hazards are prevalent.

  • The Galveston-Harris County area is one of the most flood-prone areas in the United States. Also, erosion is a major problem and there are other risks associated with storms, flooding and other weather-related issues.

 

How can the Atlas be accessed?

 

How does the Atlas work?

  • Designed for non-expert users, the Atlas website displays and provides geographic data in any compatible web browser. Users can conduct geographic analyses with a variety of basic and advanced tools.  Basic tools include: zoom in (+), zoom out (-) query tool (i), and a tool to move the map (the hand symbol).

  • Advanced analytic tools provide the user with multiple options, including adding text to the maps, querying multiple layers, measuring and buffering specific points, and visualizing map locations with aerial photographs through “Virtual earth,” “Google earth,” or “Yahoo maps”.  Interactive help icons available on each web atlas offer detailed instructions on using all the basic and advanced tools.

 

What are the key Atlas features?

Atlas Tools

  • One feature of the atlas shows changing socioeconomic and development patterns over time at multiple scales along the Texas coast.

  • One of the most interesting features is a “what if” scenario dealing with storm-water runoff in Galveston County.  This atlas component can help users understand the consequences of developing a specific parcel before the shovel hits the ground. It shows areas that are very susceptible to hurricane damage and how much damage might occur if a hurricane makes landfall.

  • There are also ‘social vulnerabilities’ of living along the coast such as rising property values, increased hotspots of population and other risks. When a hurricane hits, it’s almost impossible to evacuate an entire city like Houston, so the atlas can provide different evacuation scenarios.

 

Who developed the Atlas?

 

How was the Atlas funded?

  • Thanks to grants from the National Science Foundation, TX Sea Grant, Texas General Land Office, and NOAA, volumes of information that were never before available are now a mouse click away.

  

What is the status of the Atlas?

  • The atlas is constantly updated and as future funding allows, it is being expanded.