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Virginia CZM Program 2010 Coastal Grant Project Description and Final Summary

Project Task:



Virginia Commonwealth University 

Project Title:

Coastal GEMS Version 3 Final Development and Implementation 

Project Description as Proposed:

The Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center for Environmental Studies has created the Coastal Geospatial and Educational Mapping System, or Coastal GEMS, through FY2003 Task 95.011 and FY2006 Task 93.04 in partnership with the Virginia CZM Program and Worldview Solutions, Inc.  Coastal GEMS is a gateway, or starting point, for accessing more comprehensive coastal resource information which should be considered in planning efforts and in making management decisions.  This gateway provides data and maps of the best remaining blue and green infrastructure in Virginia’s coastal zone from across state agencies and organizations, as well as information on the value and current management of those resources.      

Coastal GEMS was developed using ArcIMS mapping software that was implemented to produce maps with large amounts of spatial data.  This technology has proved useful until users need the ability for different basemaps, added cartography and a more fluid user interface. 

Upgrading to ArcGIS Server 10 will allow the Coastal Program to use current desktop cartography available in ArcGIS Desktop to publish those maps for consumption in Coastal Gems.  This allows users of Coastal Gems to view the same cartography that the Coastal Program uses to produce maps for reports and publications so there isn’t any confusion over interpretation of data. 

IV. Project Workflow and items created/delivered

a.       A final version of Coastal Gems will be placed into production after testing and technical points are corrected
          and implemented

                       i.      Final application deployment will occur after all spatial data have been loaded into the VCU –
                              CES spatial data repository. 

                       ii.      Map documents will be finalized and customized with the help of the DEQ Coastal Program

                       iii.      DEQ Coastal Program will continue to locate appropriate spatial data layers to incorporate into
                                Coastal Gems.

                                 1.      Testing will occur from the beta application to 2 months before deployment (1/31/2012). 
                                           This will allow VCU to  focus on any data and technical issues that may arise. 

                                 2.      A beta application will be active and live during the upgrade to allow users to test and
                                          comment on the application. 

V.    Browser Compatibility

a.       The mapping components of the web site will offer browser support for Internet Explorer 6+, Mozilla Firefox 2+,
           Apple Safari 2+, and Google Chrome 1+. The application will be built using Esri’s Microsoft Silverlight API for
           ArcGIS Server.

VI. Multiple Thematic Maps

a.       This solution includes the publication of many differently themed maps, based on published ArcMap
          documents. These can be implemented and accessed either as standalone interfaces, or switched
          between through a dropdown menu in a single common map interface. Under the single map interface,
          users can switch between different thematic maps while preserving the current map extent. The
          advantage of this solution is that DEQ will be able to develop new and modify existing map documents
          to publish and make available to the public.  Each map service will be bound to the list of available map
          layers and fact sheets available for each map layer.

Federal Funding:


Project Contact:

William Shuart; 804.827.0150,

Project Status:

Project Completed; October 1, 2010 -  June 30, 2012

Final Product Received:

Coastal GEMS Version 3 Final Report (pdf)

Project Summary Provided by Grantee:

This is the second of two consecutive grants to upgrade the VA CZM online mapping application, Coastal GEMS.  The first grant (FY09 Task 93.02) was to create a draft version of the upgraded Coastal GEMS and this grant was to complete the final version.

The following tasks were completed during the grant period:

·         Incorporated ArcGIS online base maps into the application. 

·         Implemented facts sheets/non-spatial information for each layer in the application

         o   An icon has been added to the end of each layer in the table of contents to denote the ability to click and
              obtain a fact sheet.  As more users are coming to GEMS with tablet based hardware that are not
              mouse-aware, a “clickable” item needs to be present in order to obtain information. 

·         Added ability to add multiple map services into the viewer

         o   We have developed the framework and code to support multiple map services.  The concept was to have 3-4
              services pre-loaded into the GEMS application and have one turned on.  This would allow users to turn
              desired services on to display them.  This will also allow users to set the transparency for each service. 

·         Added ability for users to customize maps by adding markup including text, shapes, polygons, lines, arrows,
          icons and more. 

·         Added ability to produce high resolution PDF’s, and images (JPEG and PNG).  PDF Maps also include custom
          legend and other information/disclaimers that are needed.   The map legend will be generated for the services
          and layers the user is viewing at the exact time the map is generated.

·         Improved tool allowing users to identify features in the maps. 

·         Ability to identify/select features from multiple services was finished.

·         An enhancement to search by attributes was corrected so that a text/character search would not be case
          sensitive since some attribute values are capitalized and some are not. 

·         Ability to drag services up and down in the table of contents was added.

·         PDF map had disclaimer added to the map print out.

The final version of the upgraded Coastal GEMS mapping application was available online and will soon be put in production replacing version 2 of the Coastal GEMS application at

Disclaimer: This project summary provides the federal dollars initially awarded to the grantee. Due to underexpenditure or reprogramming of grant funds, this figure may change. For more information on the allocation of coastal grant funds, please contact Laura McKay, Virginia Coastal Program Manager, at 804.698.4323 or email:

A more detailed Scope of Work for this project is available. Please direct your request for a copy to

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Virginia Department of
Environmental Quality
P.O. Box 1105
Richmond, VA 23218
(804) 698-4000

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