Maryland's Coastal Atlas

What is the Coastal Atlas?

The Coastal Atlas is an online mapping and planning tool that allows state and local decision-makers to visually analyze and explore data for coastal and ocean planning activities.

Marylandís Blue Infrastructure

Maryland's Coastal Atlas

Our ocean and estuarine environments today face an era of unprecedented activity. Wind farms and other energy facilities, commercial fishing, diverse recreational uses, and shipping highways are all competing for use and space. To ensure the protection of Marylandís critical ocean and estuarine resources, otherwise known as our Blue Infrastructure, and the coastal economies that depend on them, the Coastal Atlas has been developed to provide direct access to available data needed for coastal and ocean planning efforts. From finding the best location for renewable energy projects to locating sand resources needed for beach replenishment to helping local communities identify areas vulnerable to sea level rise and erosion Ė the Coastal Atlas will assist users in identifying potential conflicts so that they can then be avoided early in the planning process.

Better Decision-Making

The Coastal Atlas is the result of a collaborative effort among the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the Maryland Energy Administration, Towson University, the University of Maryland, The Nature Conservancy and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The data available through the Coastal Atlas includes physical characteristics, human uses and ecological resources. Through the Coastal Atlas, users are able to visualize, query, map, and analyze available data to better manage our marine and estuarine resources. The tools currently available, and those that will be continually developed for the Coastal Atlas, are designed to support better decision-making by transforming available data into information tailored for specific issues.

To help concerned citizens address specific coastal issues, the Coastal Atlas offers several mapping applications for Marylandís Blue Infrastructure:



Allows users to view ocean data and access tools to understand and balance multiple ocean uses, including shipping, offshore renewable energy, recreation and fishing.



Allows users to access state coastal hazard data, including coastal inundation from storms, areas at risk to sea level rise and shoreline erosion data.



Allows users to identify and access critical tidal and near-shore habitats for targeted conservation, protection and restoration activities such as tidal wetlands, priority finfish habitat and submerged aquatic vegetation.

Maryland iMap

Maryland iMap

MD iMap is a diverse and flexible ďsystemĒ that access to a centralized collection of the most commonly used map data, such as roads, streams, place names, and detailed imagery.

Recent News

Marylandís Coastal Atlas Undergoes Face-lift and Rolls Out New Tools for Informing Coastal Planning and Decision-Making

Marylandís Coastal Atlas Undergoes Face-lift and Rolls Out New Tools for Informing Coastal Planning and Decision-Making Through Marylandís Coastal Atlas, Marylandís Chesapeake & Coastal Service (CCS) is improving the Stateís ability to access coastal data and tools that will help inform decision-making about coastal management in Marylandís coastal zone. This online mapping and planning tool, developed to allow users to visually analyze and explore data for coastal and ocean planning activities, has recently undergone a number of exciting updates and enhancements. From October 2010 through September 2011, through funding from Marylandís Coastal Zone Management grant and with the help of developers / programmers at Towson Universityís Center for GIS and Maryland Environmental Service, CCS staff has worked to enhance the functionality and utility of the Coastal Atlas. A major overhaul to the Atlasís three mapping applications (Ocean, Shorelines, and Estuaries) has allowed the addition of new tools which enhance the user experience. Additionally, the applications are now easier to modify in order to account for future enhancements. Click here to read more in the inaugural newsletter issue of the International Coastal Atlas Network (ICAN). For more on ICAN, visit their website at

Contact Information

Chris Cortina

Chesapeake & Coastal Service

Maryland Department of Natural Resources

Tawes State Office Building E-2

580 Taylor Avenue

Annapolis, Maryland 21401

Phone 410-260-8774

Fax 410-260-8739

Download Coastal Atlas Fact Sheet

Coastal Atlas Fact Sheet