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Quantum Spatial completes data collection for NOAA’s largest coastal mapping project

Quantum Spatial, Inc., an NV5 company and North America’s largest geospatial data firm, recently completed the collection of topographic and bathymetric lidar and digital imagery for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s (NOAA) largest coastal mapping project. These efforts include updating information for 12,000 square miles along the Eastern Seaboard, Pacific, and Gulf Coast that have not been surveyed for hundreds of years. 

Quantum Spatial, which is serving as the prime contractor for collection and processing of the data under this previously announced NOAA Coastal and Geospatial Services contract, devised an innovative approach, simultaneously using multiple sensors to achieve accurate data collection in various depths of water and along the shoreline. 

“The data collected is at a resolution and accuracy that is far superior to what we have had available to us,” said Mike Aslasken, chief of the Remote Sensing Division for NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey. “Some of these areas have not been surveyed since the Civil War era, and the technology being used provides us insights on water depth for our nautical charts, especially in shallow areas that are impossible to chart by more traditional means. These surveys will provide an important baseline and offer long-lasting value to other stakeholders, who will leverage it for a variety of applications.”

NOAA will use the data to support additional mapping, nautical charting, geodesy services, marine debris surveys and marine resource management assessments. The data also will be available to other federal, state and local agencies, as well as the public and commercial entities, and can provide valuable insights into sediment transport, emergency management forecasting, the impact of flooding and storm surge, transportation projects, and updating systems for recreational and commercial fishing. 

Work for this contract stemmed from a supplemental appropriation from Congress for accurate and consistent measurement of the national shoreline following three storms in 2018 – Hurricane Florence, Hurricane Michael and Typhoon Yutu – as part of NOAA’s National Geodetic Survey (NGS) Remote Sensing Division’s Coastal Mapping program.

Data is currently being delivered for 11 project areas in southern Virginia, North Carolina, northern South Carolina, Florida and southeast Alabama, as well as Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. The full data set is expected to be available for public use by summer 2021.

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