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USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program

Technology and Tools

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Coastal and Marine Geology Program (CMGP) conducts integrated mapping of the coastal and marine environment to define offshore hazards and sediment processes, support habitat and resource management, and monitor change. CMGP is an innovator in mapping and laboratory analyses, whose expertise is sought by other governmental agencies, educational institutions, and private companies. In turn, we seek collaborative research and development opportunities with similar groups to continually correct and perfect the data collection tools, analytical techniques, and technologies utilized in our coastal and marine studies.

Mapping Technologies

mapping schematicCoastal and Marine Geology Program Internet Map Server: portal to published GIS-related data and maps

Lidar for Science and Resource Management: aircraft-mounted light detection and ranging (lidar) and multi-spectral imaging to map coastal-marine and terrestrial environments

Advanced Remote Sensing Methods for Coastal Science and Management: characterizing and classifying features on the seafloor using data collected by both airborne and underwater instrumentation; ATRIS, topographic complexity, coral fluorescence

Louisiana Sedimentary and Environmental Database: database incorporates a wide range of data types (sediment-sample logs and analyses, geophysical profiles, raster-image basemaps, logbooks, etc.) that are integrated with spatial data

Mapping Systems: surficial, sub-bottom, and littoral mapping; sampling (Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center)

More Mapping Systems: surficial, sub-bottom, and littoral mapping; sampling (Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center)

Maps of America's Submerged Lands: provides links to publications that contain maps and the digital data used to create them


scientist at work in a USGS laboratoryCarbon Analytical Lab: utilizes state of the art methods and instrumentation for quantifying carbon system parameters in aqueous samples

Core Splitting and Description Lab: equipped for splitting, describing, photographing, and subsampling of sediment cores and other marine samples

Gas Hydrates Project Laboratories: measures the physical properties of natural and synthetic hydrate-bearing sediments using the Instrumented Pressure Testing Chamber (IPTC) and a modular system of laboratory cells and peripherals

GeoTech Lab: specializes in geotechnical studies of marine, estuarine, lacustrine, and terrestrial sediment. Capabilities include fully automated computer-controlled testing of consolidation, permeability, and shear strength properties as well as non-destructive analysis of whole-core sediment sections using a whole-core logging system. Useful for submarine and earthquake failure analysis

Sediment Lab: equipped to determine the basic attributes of marine sediments

X-Ray Diffraction Lab: used to study the characteristics of crystalline structure and determine the mineralogy of finer grained sediments


hand-held digital still camera used on beaches and underwater by diversCMGTooL: software for processing, analyzing, and visualizing time-series oceanographic data

CO2calc: A User-Friendly Seawater Carbon Calculator for Windows, Mac OS X, and iOS (iPhone): user-friendly, stand-alone application for the calculation of carbonate system parameters

Underwater Microscope System and Grain-size Toolbox: hardware and software for rapid mapping of bed-sediment grain size

Data Modeling and Visualization

Screenshot of COAWST modeling tool.Coastal Change Hazards Portal: visualize data and knowledge about storms, shoreline change, and seal-level rise

Coastal and Marine Geology Video and Photograph Portal: Explore Thousands of Coastal and Seafloor Images along U.S. Coasts

Coastal Ocean Modeling: develop an integrated wave, circulation, and sediment transport modeling system

Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS): generate real-time forecasts of water levels, wave heights, coastal erosion and flooding for a period of up to 3 days in advance; simulates a number of historical storms and hypothetical scenarios

COAWST: study coastal change using a coupled Ocean-Atmosphere-Wave-Sediment transport modeling system

Our Coast, Our Future (OCOF): understand, visualize, and anticipate vulnerabilities to sea-level rise and storms within San Francisco Bay and on the outer coast from Half Moon Bay to Bodega Bay

San Francisco Bay Basic Tide Model: run a basic depth-averaged (2DH) Deltares Delft3D astronomic tide model for San Francisco Bay

Seafloor Stress and Sediment Mobility: estimate wave current, bottom stress, and sediment movement

Instruments and Equipment

USGS scientists in the field with the backpack SASW equipment.Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR): uses radio waves to map the internal structure of the ground

Lidar for Science and Resource Management - Multi-spectral remote sensing of coastal-marine and terrestrial environments

Multi-sensor whole core logging system (MSCL) - measures geophysical properties of unsplit sediment cores

Sediment Transport Instrumentation Facility - deploys oceanographic moorings and tripods

Spectral Analysis of Surface Waves (SASW) - seismic tools useful for evaluating the stiffness characteristics of soil deposits

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Page Last Modified: December 02, 2016 @ 11:23 AM (LZT)