Virginia CZM Program: 2011 Coastal Grant Project Description and Final Summary

Project Task:VA CZM logo



Virginia Commonwealth University

Project Title:

Virginia Coastal Zone Management Program GIS Support

Project Description as Proposed:

This task supports one full time staff position (Coastal GIS Coordinator) that is contracted through Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center for Environmental Studies (VCU CES) and the partial time of two additional VCU CES staff required to host and maintain the Coastal Geospatial and Educational Mapping System (Coastal GEMS), perform data/software updates, and perform grant/project management. Coastal Management GIS Support: The Coastal GIS Coordinator provides support to the Virginia CZM Program to ensure that GIS needs are met; that policy and planning functions have adequate GIS support; and that open grants involving GIS products are properly managed and implemented. This staff position will support the following activities:Work with VCU CES and others to ensure the maintenance and enhancement of Virginia CZM’s Coastal GEMSCommunicate with Coastal Policy Team and other ad-hoc advisors to identify coastal geospatial data needs Organize Coastal GEMS training programs for state/local government users and others as requestedAdvise CZM project managers on grants involving GIS data development and mapping Produce GIS map products as needed by the CZM Program and partnersParticipate in the Virginia State GIS Users’ Group and keep up-to-date on, or become involved in, other GIS-related developments in VirginiaCoastal GEMS Maintenance: VCU CES will continue to host, maintain, and update the Coastal GEMS web mapping application. Current Coastal GEMS data layers will be edited or updated as determined by VCU/CZM staff. New Coastal Gems data layers will be added as they are developed through Virginia CZM Program grants or are contributed from a partnering agency or organization. 

Federal Funding:


Project Contact:

Nick Meade, 804-698-4297; or Laura McKay, 804.698-4323;

Project Status:

10/1/11 - 9/30/12; Project Completed

Final Product Received:

Coastal Management GIS Support & Coastal GEMS Maintenance: FY11 Annual Report (pdf)

Project Summary Provided by Grantee:

-Virginia Commonwealth University’s Center for Environmental Studies (VCU CES) hosted the Coastal GEMS online mapping application and performed routine maintenance and updates. Tasks were to refresh map services, update data and cartography in the map file, and install software and security upgrades. Coastal Gems remained operational and was only offline to install updates or refresh map services.  Coastal GEMS can be accessed online at:

-At CZM staff request, VCU CES staff updated five GEMS layers. The Coastal GIS Coordinator processed GIS data layers for effective display on Coastal GEMS, uploaded them to VCU to be added to Coastal GEMS, and updated the corresponding GEMS fact sheets.  Layers updated include Baylor Grounds, Private Oyster Leases, Conservation Lands, Public Access Lands, and SAV Coverage.

-Google Analytics services for Coastal GEMS remained operational.  From October 1, 2011 to September 30, 2012, Coastal GEMS received 1,222 visits from 703 unique visitors resulting in 1,666 pageviews and an average site visit time of 2 minutes and 3 seconds.

-The Coastal GIS Coordinator conducted by request a Coastal GEMS training session for Hampton Roads local planning staff as part of a Hampton Roads Planning District Commission environmental committee meeting on February 2nd, 2012.

-The Coastal GIS Coordinator continued involvement in the Seaside SAMP group, the Eastern Shore of Virginia GIS Users group, and the Richmond GIS Users group by attending meetings and participating in discussions and continued involvement with the Coastal VEVA group by assisting with improvements to Coastal VEVA outreach materials.  The Coastal GIS Coordinator performed VA Dept of Historic Resources archive searches as part of the state historic preservation office clearance process for two separate CZM funded projects.

-Map products created for CZM staff/partners by the Coastal GIS Coordinator include: a map of American Oyster Catcher distribution on the Eastern Shore of Virginia, an overview map of the Rappahannock River rotational oyster harvest areas and a map of the Wreck Shoals oyster sanctuary area in the James River for VMRC staff to utilize in presentation and enforcement purposes, a map of protected lands highlighting the Pickett's Harbor Natural Area Preserve addition for DCR to include in a press release, a map of conserved lands on the Southern tip of Virginia’s Eastern shore for VA CZM staff to include as part of a display at the 2011 Eastern Shore Birding Festival, a map comparing lands prioritized for conservation on both sides of the VA-MD border to inform a discussion on joint land protection projects, a human use map for the VA Ocean Planning kickoff meeting, and a map for attendees of the CZM 40th anniversary event.

-The Coastal GIS Coordinator helped to plan, prepare for, and run Virginia’s 2012 Atlantic Coast Recreational Use Mapping Project by helping to identify and invite stakeholders, testing the eBeam digital whiteboard technology, pulling together basemap data, defining the study area, creating print materials, and continuing to work with NOAA staff as the data was processed and maps were created.  The Coastal GIS Coordinator presented about participatory GIS and demonstrated the eBeam technology for the MARCO Board, the Coastal Policy Team, and for ocean use stakeholders at VA’s Ocean Planning kickoff meeting and provided support to other MARCO states in planning their own recreational use mapping workshops.  The Coastal GIS Coordinator also worked with ANPDC staff to design a methodology for recreational use survey flights along VA’s Atlantic coast.

-The Coastal GIS Coordinator worked with VCU CES staff to develop a new version of the Coastal GEMS online mapping application with many new features and improved functionalities.  The Coastal GIS Coordinator worked to update contact information and links for all of Coastal GEMS 60+ data layers and worked with data providers to make sure the most current versions of each dataset were available on Coastal GEMS.  The Coastal GIS coordinator gave a joint presentation with VCU CES staff at the Coastal Policy Team meeting outlining the new features and functionalities of Coastal GEMS version 3.

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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