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Massachusetts Shoreline Change Project: A GIS Compilation of Vector Shorelines (1844-2018)


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Bartlett, M.K., Farris, A.S., Weber, K.M., and Himmelstoss, E.A., 2021, Massachusetts shoreline change project—A GIS compilation of vector shorelines (1844-2014): U.S. Geological Survey data release,


The U.S. Geological Survey, in cooperation with the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management compiled Massachusetts vector shorelines into an updated dataset for the Office’s Shoreline Change Project. The Shoreline Change Project started in 1989 to identify erosion-prone areas of the Massachusetts coast by compiling a database of historical shoreline positions. Trends of shoreline position over long- and short-term timescales provide information to landowners, managers, and potential buyers about possible future changes to costal resources and infrastructure. This updated dataset strengthens the understanding of shoreline position change in Massachusetts. It includes U.S. Geological Survey vector shorelines edited for quality [...]

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“Shoreline positions compiled for the Massachusetts coastal regions (1844-2018)”
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Shoreline positions serve as easily understood features that can be used to describe the movement of beaches through time. This shoreline dataset is a mean high water (MHW) datum-based shoreline extracted using both a profile method and a contour method. These data are used in conjunction with other shoreline files to calculate rates of shoreline change. Associated with this dataset is a horizontal uncertainty value for each shoreline included in the attribute table, a proxy-datum bias reference line that corrects for the unidirectional offset between the mean high water (MHW) elevation of this dataset and other historical high water line (HWL) shoreline positions at this location, and an estimate of the uncertainty of this proxy-datum bias. See the first process step for essential information to understand these data and other shoreline change related data.
Shoreline positions compiled for the Massachusetts coastal regions (1844-2018)
Shoreline positions compiled for the Massachusetts coastal regions (1844-2018)


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  • USGS Data Release Products
  • Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center

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DOI doi:10.5066/P9O8QA8N

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