Virginia CZM Program: 2012 Coastal Grant Project Description and Final Summary

Project Task:VA CZM logo



Virginia Commonwealth University 

Project Title:

Coastal Management GIS Support and Coastal GEMS Maintenance 

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) to provide GIS support to the Virginia CZM program 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; that open grants involving GIS products are properly managed and implemented; and that Virginia CZM’s Coastal GEMS remains a valuable tool to Virginia’s coastal community. 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 GEMS
  • Communicate 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
  • Advise CZM project managers on grants involving GIS data development and mapping 
  • Produce GIS map products as needed by the CZM Program and partners
  • Participate in the Virginia State GIS Users’ Group and keep up-to-date on, or become involved in, other GIS-related developments in Virginia  

Coastal 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:

Greg C. Garman, Ph.D.; 804.828.1574,

Project Status:

10/1/2012 - 9/30/2013; Project Completed 

Final Product Received:

Coastal Management GIS Support & Coastal GEMS Maintenance: FY 12 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. VCU CES staff worked to refine Coastal GEMS Version 3, developed through NOAA grants #NA09NOS4190163 and # NA10NOS4190205, including updating server hardware, fixing several bugs, and making several functional and aesthetic enhancements.  Coastal GEMS can be accessed online at:

-At CZM staff request, VCU CES staff updated seven GEMS layers and added a new map service to the application containing all 22 VA Atlantic Coast Recreational Use Project data 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 created/updated the corresponding GEMS fact sheets.  Layers updated include SAV coverage, shellfish condemnation zones, conservation lands, public access lands, Baylor grounds, private oyster leases, and DGIF boat access.

-Google Analytics services for Coastal GEMS remained operational.  From October 1, 2012 to September 30, 2013, Coastal GEMS received 786 visits from 411 unique visitors resulting in 1,131 pageviews and an average site visit time of 2 minutes and 48 seconds.

-The Coastal GIS Coordinator presented on and gave a live demo of Coastal GEMS v3 at the NC Shoreline Mapping & Coastal Atlas Workshop at the UNC Coastal Studies Institute in Manteo, NC on May 7.

-The Coastal GIS Coordinator worked with Nature Conservancy staff to plan and run a pGIS session for a MAMFC meeting to share spatial knowledge from fishermen and scientists to inform an amendment to protect corals and utilized pGIS tools in a meeting between VMRC and VIMS staff to map potential SAV expansion on the seaside of VA’s Eastern Shore.

-The Coastal GIS Coordinator presented at the ES GIS Users Group Symposium on the Virginia Atlantic Coast Recreational Use Mapping Project and helped to plan and run two participatory GIS workshops to map recreational uses off the coasts of Maryland and Delaware.

-The Coastal GIS Coordinator processed and uploaded all draft data from VA’s Atlantic Coast Recreational Use Workshop to an ArcGIS Explorer online map including use category descriptions and identifiable features and wrote a short step by step tutorial for stakeholders to access and review the maps.

-The Coastal GIS Coordinator updated the Virginia Atlantic Coast Recreational Use metadata to reflect the stakeholder review process and worked with BOEM staff to get registered and post the metadata on, helping to troubleshoot the process for uploading state level data to Ocean.Data.Gov website.

-Map products created for CZM staff/partners by the Coastal GIS Coordinator include; a map for ESNWR refuge manager  including accurate refuge boundaries, labels, and current aerial imagery for land use planning purposes, a map of current and planned future LiDAR coverage in the Coastal Zone for display at the CZM Coastal Partners Workshop, maps used by VMRC for oyster harvest enforcement including Tangier Pocomoke rotational oyster harvest areas maps, updates to Rappahannock rotational area 4 map and overall Rappahannock rotational harvest areas map, and maps of Pocomoke public grounds 9 and 10, a map of field trip options for the Coastal States Organization Sep    17-19 annual meeting in Norfolk, a map of native plant demo sites on Virginia’s Eastern Shore for inclusion in the ES Native plant guide, and maps required for 306a documentation and SHPO clearance for VA CZM funded projects from DCR DNH, VIMS and HRPDC.

-The Coastal GIS Coordinator acted as the VA CZM lead on NOAA’s new data sharing policy, reviewing proposals at the request of CZM coastal planners to determine if they require a data sharing policy, fielding questions from CZM grantees, communicating with NOAA staff for further guidance and creating a FAQ document about the new policy.

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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