GS 140 Geology Coastal Change

Coastal change mapping using Online GIS

This is an Online exercise using the State of Massachusetts Coastal Zone Mapper Online Mapping Tool. You run the exercise in a browser window, it should work under whatever browser application you use.

You will be answering questions which you need to put into a write-up, you should incorporate these into a narrative rather than listing questions. In addition, you will be saving images of the maps that you create which you should also put into the write-up. You should create a Folder on your PC to store the images and write-up. A useful practice is to create a Classes folder, then in the Classes folder create a Geology folder and then a Coastal Mapping folder to organize your work. Then you will write a summary of the impact of sea level rise on coastal Massachusetts. You will examine the National Geographic page on “How Boston made itself bigger”

In the internet browser, go to

In the search box at the top of the map type ‘crane beach, MA ‘ and press enter. Select ‘zoom to region’ in the dialogue box.

At the right side of the map are control windows which show available data layers and active data layers as well as the Legend. You will add some data layers.

Click on the Expand (+) sign next to Base Data Layers and then Expand Orthophotos

Click on 2019 USGS Color Orthophotos this moves it into the Active Data Layers and displays it

Click on the Expand (+) sign next to Coastal Hazards and then expand Erosion

Click on High Water Shorelines, this moves it into the Active Data Layers and displays it.

Examine the Legend for the High Water Shorelines, it lists time periods with the lines showing the shoreline at that time period color coded. You will now make measurements of the shift at the inlet, measure at the tip, the landward edge of the inlet.

The measure tool is in the lower left of the application.

Click on the measure tool image1.png

Click on the eastern most shoreline, the 1943-1969 yellow line (11108.62 m), then click on the Black line which shows the 2007-2009 (10553.80 m). Record the value which should be in meters

Now click on the shoreline as shown in the 2019 Orthophoto to determine the distance between the 2007 and 2019 (9453.21m) shorelines.

Calculate the shoreline change in meters per year using the earlier dates for each time period.

Now you will create an output map.

Click on the Print button on the upper toolbar image2.png

Enter the title as Crane Beach Shoreline Change, click OK

image3.pngNotice that it is telling you it is going to save two separate files, one for the map and one for the legend. Click on the link (here) to the map.

Save both the legend and map to a folder for this exercise.

Other available data layers which you will look at are the Hurricane Surge scenario and Sea level rise coastal Inundation. You will zoom out to see a larger area.

Click on the bottom of the zoom slider to zoom out.

image4.pngIn the Available Data Layers under Coastal Hazards -> Flooding select Hurricane Surge Inundation Scenarios.

In the Active Data Layer window right click on High Water Shorelines and remove it.

Use the Pan tool to drag the image up until you can see Boston.

Right click on Hurricane Surge Inundation Scenarios data layer in the Active Data Layers window.

Set the Opacity to about 50% using the Opacity slider.

Click on the Print or Save you Map icon, give the title as Boston Hurricane Surge Inundation Scenario and save the images in your folder.

Zoom in to Boston and pan around to see the areas that would be inundated under the various scenarios (Hurricane Categories)

Notice that there are elevated areas that would not be covered with water under any scenario. These are the hills of Boston. Examine the site to see what “Original” Boston is and discuss this in your analysis.

Zoom out to view All of Boston.

Uncheck the Hurricane Surge Inundation Scenarios data layer.

In the Available Data Layers under Coastal Hazards ->Sea Level Rive -> NOAA Coastal Inundation click on Coastal Inundation Scenario.

Create a map of this with the title Boston Coastal Inundation Scenario.

Zoom in to Boston and pan around to see the areas that would be inundated under the various scenarios.


Your write-up must contain the following Maps

1. Crane Beach Shoreline Change

2. Boston Hurricane Surge Inundation

3. Boston Coastal Inundation Scenario

Your write-up should be a minimum two-page double spaced well written technical narrative discussion on the issue of shoreline change. You should talk in detail about the 3 maps you will insert into the document. Use information on the following topics from your textbook in your narrative using your own words. DO NOT DIRECTLY QUOTE THE TEXTBOOK.

1. Barrier Island migration.

2. Sea level rise

3. Impacts of hurricane

4. Geography of Boston

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