Shoreline mapping vector data for the Canadian Arctic based on low-altitude helicopter geo-tagged videography: Beaufort Sea 2010-2012
In the face of increasing economic opportunities in Canada's northern regions, the need to improve our state of preparedness for oil spill related emergencies in particular is critical. While significant efforts have been put towards documenting baseline coastal information across Canada’s southern regions, there is a large information gap regarding Arctic shorelines. Baseline coastal information such as shoreline form, substrate and vegetation type, is required for operational prioritization, coordination of on-site spill response activities (i.e., SCAT: Shoreline Cleanup and Assessment Technique), as well as providing valuable information for wildlife and ecosystem management. A standardized methodology was developed to map shoreline characteristics at six study sites across the Canadian Arctic: James Bay, Resolute Bay, Hudson Bay, Labrador Coast, Victoria Strait, and Beaufort Sea. Geo-referenced high definition videography was collected during the summers of 2010 to 2012 along coastlines within the study sites. Detailed information (i.e. shoreline type, substrate, form, height, slope, fetch, access type, exposure, etc.) describing the upper intertidal, supratidal, and backshore zones was extracted from the video and entered into a geospatial database using a data collection form. This information was used to delimit and map alongshore segments in the upper intertidal zone. The result is a vector dataset containing thousands of linear shoreline segments ranging in length from 200 m and 2 km long. In total, almost seven thousand kilometers of northern shorelines were mapped, including twenty five different shoreline types based on the upper intertidal zone. This information will feed into a larger ongoing project focused on Arctic coastal ecosystems as well as serve as valuable information for oil spill response planning should the need arise. This database also provides valuable information for habitat management, local shoreline planning, can feed into environmental assessments or be used to aid research site selection.