Mapping Tool & Apps

Mapping Overview

Starting in 2008, The Nature Conservancy began in New York pioneering an approach to address coastal hazards risks by working with local and federal partners to map sea level rise, storm surge, social and economic assets, community vulnerability and natural resources and make the information available on the Web. This met a strong need among elected officials and local planners for access to data visualization tools, a decision support framework and resources for informing stakeholder engagement.

The Coastal Resilience tool works US nationwide and globally to assess risk and identify risk reduction solutions, and operates at multiple scales for more detailed planning in more than a dozen states and numerous communities. The tool has been instrumental in guiding decisions, for example, for Connecticut state policy, coastal development in southern California, and restoration decisions in the Gulf of Mexico. Coastal Resilience is also applied internationally in places such as Grenada for assessing social and ecological vulnerability in partnership with the Red Cross, and globally to develop USAID Coasts at Risk indicators and a World Risk Index with Alliance Development Works.

Coastal Resilience’s approach and tool has been rapidly expanding and now includes 12 U.S. coastal states, (Alabama, California, Connecticut, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Washington), four countries in Latin America (Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras) and in three island nations in the Caribbean (Grenada, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, U.S Virgin Islands). There are also global and U.S. national web maps that together form the Coastal Resilience network.

Decision Support Tool and Apps

In October of 2013 Coastal Resilience version 2.0 was launched, complete with a flexible, robust mapping platform and “apps” designed to examine coastal hazards, social, ecological, economic assets as well as engineered solutions intended to reduce risk. This version of Coastal Resilience contains a modular plugin architecture meaning these apps can be designed and deployed by the open source community.

Learn more about the different apps available on the mapping platform.

We are now at a pivotal point to take this technology to a new level by providing a decision support system that can be adopted by partners, customized to suit their needs, and advanced with new applications that can help planners and decision-makers around the world make informed decisions to reduce the risk to their local communities. Over the next few years, we will be working with the federal, state, and provincial governments to extend the use of the Coastal Resilience tool platform and applications for adaptation, resilience and restoration planning.

Coastal Defense App Wins Global Disaster Resilience Challenge

On September 23rd during Climate Week in New York, The United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR along with Esri) announced that the Coastal Defense app, part of the Coastal Resilience tool, won the award for best Professional and Scientific App for disaster risk reduction. See the UN press release

Wahlström, Head of the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction, said: “Technology and science have a role to play in making the planet a safer and more resilient place. These apps will empower people across the world to manage the risks associated with extreme weather events fueled by climate change which affect over 100 million people every year. Congratulations are in order to the winners and to Esri for taking this initiative.”

Jack Dangermond, Esri President, announced the award in a session on Resilience – which can be seen on UN Web TV. Jack’s announcement is around minute 34 or so…coverage on “Climate Summit 2014 – Multilateral and multi-stakeholder, Action announcements: Forests, Agriculture and Resilience.”

The app was developed through a collaboration between The Nature Conservancy, the Natural Capital Project, University of California at Santa Cruz, University of Southern Mississippi, and the U.S. Geological Survey.

This award is sponsored by the United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR), who launched the Making Cities Resilient Campaign to improve land use and urban planning for 1,800 participating cities worldwide. The contest was to design an app around one or more of the areas on the United Nations Essentials for Making Cities Resilient. Coastal Defense targets the Essential to “protect ecosystems and natural buffers to mitigate floods, storm surges and other hazards to which your city may be vulnerable. Adapt to climate change by building on good risk reduction practices.”