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National Geodetic Survey

pdf iconNOAA Coastal Mapping Program Study (PDF, 1.7 MB)

Explore: Aerial Photography and Shoreline Mapping

NOAA press release

NOAA Coastal Mapping Program Offers Huge Taxpayer Benefits

April 10, 2012

NOAA collects aerial imagery used to improve the accuracy of shoreline data.

For every dollar American taxpayers spend on NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey (NGS) Coastal Mapping Program, they receive more than $35 in benefits. This statistic was the result of a recent independent socio-economic scoping study.

The program provides critical baseline data to accurately map the U.S. shoreline. The data is important for national security, maritime shipping, and navigation. The program also provides geographical reference data needed to manage, develop, conserve, and protect coastal resources. 

Direct economic benefits of the program alone were estimated at $100 million—15 times program costs. The study estimated that NGS’s Coastal Mapping Program further supports 1,500 jobs outside of the program. In addition to the economic data, the study also provides information on the program’s customers and their uses of mapping data.

NOAA derives shoreline data through various remote sensing technologies including aerial imagery, satellite imagery, Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), and Synthetic Aperture RADAR (SAR).


Conducted by Leveson Consulting of Jackson, N.J., the study analyzed the benefits to the nation of NOAA’s Coastal Mapping Program, which enhances coastal economies by providing accurate and consistent shoreline data.