Data is being collected in Mobile Bay, Alabama, by ship, satellite, aircraft, and autonomous underwater vehicle. Additionally, high resolution coastal hydrodynamic models are being developed. This information, traditionally used for navigation, will provide an unprecedented, fine-grained view of the Bay's water and land—and may serve as a model for how NOAA navigation data is collected, repackaged, and reused to help coastal communities around the nation.
Learn about the Mobile Bay project from National Geodetic Survey's Galen Scott, one of the team leaders behind the effort. [Making Waves podcast]
NOAA has traditionally supported U.S. navigation with tide and current data, nautical charts, exact positioning, and a host of other navigation services, including coastal models and forecasts. These services help to ensure safe and efficient commerce around the nation—a Congressional mandate. NOAA experts recognize that data supporting navigational services can also be used for a variety of coastal applications, including emergency management and response, coastal engineering, sea level rise mitigation, resource management, and ecosystem restoration.
And they're not alone. Regional experts such as coastal managers and academic researchers around the nation are increasingly turning to NOAA's navigation data and models to help solve local problems, such as forecasting potential impacts of sea level rise and better managing ecosystems.
Now, an ambitious project currently underway in Mobile Bay, Alabama, is exploring just how useful navigation data can be for other customers. For months, NOAA teams have been involved in an intensive effort to collect data in this region. They are measuring water levels; taking hydrographic and current surveys; measuring conductivity, temperature, and density at different points in the Bay; collecting continuous GPS measurements; calculating high-accuracy elevations along the coast; and developing coastal hydrodynamic models. Once the work is complete, teams will transform these data into useful tools and applications. Additional efforts will be made to meet stakeholder's needs in support of this valuable coastal community.
When combined, these data will provide an unprecedented, fine-grained view of the Bay's water and land—and may serve as a model for how NOAA navigation data is collected, repackaged, and reused to help coastal communities around the nation.