National Coastal Mapping Program
The U. S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) National Coastal Mapping Program (NCMP) is designed to provide high-resolution elevation and imagery data along U.S. shorelines on a recurring basis. USACE Headquarters funds the NCMP to support regional sediment management, construction, operations, and regulatory functions in the coastal zone.
The NCMP is executed by the Joint Airborne Lidar Bathymetry Technical Center of Expertise (JALBTCX), using its in-house survey capability called the Compact Hydrographic Airborne Rapid Total Survey (CHARTS) system. The CHARTS sensor suite includes an Optech SHOALS-1000T and an Itres CASI-1500. The SHOALS-1000T is itself an integrated sensor containing a 1,000 pulse-per-second (pps) bathymetric laser, a 9,000 pps topographic laser, and a digital RGB camera that records one frame every second. The CASI-1500 is a programmable pushbroom hyperspectral imager capable of collecting from 4 to 288 spectral bands over the spectral range from 375 to 1050 nm, at pixel sizes ranging from 20 cm to 5 m depending on system configuration.
The survey specification for the NCMP requires data from all four instruments. Bathymetric data are collected from the shoreline to 1 km offshore at 5 m spacing. Topographic data are collected from the shoreline to 0.5 km onshore at 1 m spacing. The RGB digital imagery have a ground resolution of 20 cm per pixel and the CASI imagery have a ground resolution of 0.5 to 2 m per pixel depending on the operational survey requirement. GIS products derived from these data include seamless bathy/topo grids, bare earth bathy/topo grids, building footprints, a shoreline vector, seafloor reflectance images, basic landcover classifications, and RGB and hyperspectral image mosaics.
Since the NCMP was initiated in 2004, airborne lidar and imagery data have been collected for over 16,000 km of shorelines on the Gulf Coast, Atlantic Coast, and in the Great Lakes and connecting rivers and streams. JALBTCX has collected similar data over 3,500 km of Gulf and Atlantic Coast shorelines, in Mobile Bay, the Mississippi Sound, and in Lake Pontchartrain to support hurricane response efforts.
In summer 2011, the JALBTCX collected lidar elevation and imagery data on the U.S. West Coast for the states of Washington, Oregon, California, and the Great Lakes using both CHARTS and similar capability available through commercial contract. In summer 2012, the NCMP will continue its second cycle around the U.S. coast in the Great Lakes.