Developing a Coastal Communities Planning Atlas as an Educational Tool for Decision Makers and Local Residents
This project develops a coastal communities planning atlas to help local jurisdictions in Texas understand the implications of development decisions and plan appropriately for the future. It provides an easily accessible, graphically represented, interactive database on environmental, hazard, and land use related issues for local communities. Specifically, the project creates an Internet-based spatial decision support system that allows users to identify and visualize critical hotspots related to environmental degradation, natural hazard risks, and significant changes in land use patterns. In addition, users in Galveston, TX can query data and create custom maps based on multiple development scenarios. Communities can use this educational tool to guide future decisions on growth in a sustainable manner such that the need for economic development is balanced with priorities associated with environmental protection and human health, safety, and welfare. The system also helps address important research questions related to where future growth will occur in the Texas coastal zone, the impacts of this growth, and the usefulness ofWebGIS in facilitating sustainable planning.