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Leveraging AI to Enable Fast and Efficient Coastal Analysis for NOAA

NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management continues to rely on Ecopia to provide high accuracy land cover data to support the efforts of their Coastal Change Analysis Program (C-CAP). Learn how NOAA leverages Ecopia's vector-based products.

The emergence of very high-resolution (VHR) commercial imagery products, both satellite and aerial, has led to an increased demand for high-accuracy derivative data.

Historically, derivative products created at a countrywide scale were produced to a 30-meter, or at best, 10-meter resolution. Ecopia has shifted the paradigm of data extraction by leveraging the power of artificial intelligence (AI) and readily available high-resolution imagery. With access to both VHR aerial and satellite imagery through our network of imagery partners, Ecopia has established a streamlined workflow to produce high-resolution vector data across the globe at an optimized resolution of 30cm. Not only can Ecopia produce high-quality datasets, but these data can be created at prices comparable to the traditional 10-meter derivative products. The capacity to produce these higher resolution products has and continues to play a critical role in supporting the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) Office for Coastal Management (OCM).

"Having the flexibility to produce related products that meet multiple needs, from a single mapping effort, is huge. It allows the government to support multiple applications, at both the local and regional level, without duplication of effort, and can save money for everyone involved." Nate Herold, Physical Scientist, NOAA Office for Coastal Management

The mission of the OCM is to support the environmental, social, and economic well-being of the coast by linking people, information, and technology. Since 2018, the organization has contracted Ecopia to provide high-accuracy land cover data for distribution through the agency’s Digital Coast website. The Digital Coast has gained additional recognition with the recent passing of the Digital Coast Act which includes a focus on filling data gaps, such as high-resolution land cover, in coastal areas. The program is designed to create detailed land cover and land cover change data and information products for coastal areas of the United States in coordination with state coastal management agencies and other federal programs, such as the Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics (MRLC) Consortium. Traditionally the program relied on 30-meter and 10-meter datasets, but recently shifted its focus to a 1-meter resolution product to better serve local needs and partners of the program. These higher resolution land cover and change data products are used to assess urban growth, map impervious surfaces, map and inventory wetlands, delineate wildlife habitat, determine changes in land cover over time, and more.

C-CAP (30-meter) Land Cover
C-CAP (1-meter) Land Cover

NOAA's 30 meter land cover C-CAP data compared to their 1-meter land cover C-CAP data

To service the unique requirements of the Digital Coast Program, Ecopia is able to leverage our national vector land cover product (Fig 2.1) and transform the data into 1-meter raster data (Fig 2.2). Having the flexibility to provide multiple versions of the data, in both raster and vector format, allows NOAA to meet its national mapping mission and bring additional funding partners to engage in supporting their efforts. It also allows local agencies to obtain detailed vector data and to capitalize on reduced costs for data creation and a simplified procurement process.

Partner agencies and Ecopia clients such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the New Orleans Regional Planning Commission have taken advantage of these products to gain access to this high-quality data, whether it be the 1m resolution or the high-resolution vector products. To date, Ecopia has delivered over 50,000 sq. miles of data, ranging from the State of Hawaii to unique regions across the continental United States. With more clients and partner agencies realizing the benefit of the program, Ecopia remains a critical data provider and will continue to offer our products as NOAA strives to produce a high-resolution land cover dataset of the continental United States.

Ecopia High-Resolution Vector Map
C-CAP Impervious 1m raster

Ecopia's high-resolution vector map used as an input for NOAA's impervious 1m raster C-CAP data

To learn more about how Ecopia AI can help empower better data-driven decisions within your government agency or organization, get in touch with our public sector team.

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