Thursday, January 05, 2012

Blue Marble to Develop Coastal Adaptation to Sea Level Rise Modeling Tool for USM

From: Directions Magazine 

Gardiner, Maine – Blue Marble Geographics (bluemarblegeo.com)announces it has been selected by the New England Environmental Finance Center (NEEFC) from the Edmund Muskie School of Policy Research at the University of Southern Maine to develop the software interface for a coastal climatic disruption modeling tool entitled COAST. The tool will be used to create a GIS model of cost avoidance strategies to protect against asset damage from sea level rise due to storm surge and coastal flooding. Blue Marble’s geospatial data manipulation and conversion solutions are used worldwide by thousands of GIS analysts at software, oil and gas, mining, civil engineering, surveying, and technology companies, as well as governmental and university organizations. It is being beta-tested in Portland, Maine and coastal New Hampshire and additional software development for the project has already been planned.

Under the direction of CTO Victor Minor, Blue Marble’s Professional Services team is working closely with Dr. Sam Merrill, Associate Professor from NEEFC at USM. Merrill, in conjunction with Paul Kirshen of the Ocean Process Analysis Laboratory at the University of New Hampshire, has developed a GIS modeling technique to assist municipalities and government agencies with making the most cost effective decisions in responding to sea level rise and coastal flooding from storm surge events. The technique assigns financial values to assets located in the potential flooding area as well as the costs of building such structures as sea walls, levees or other protective structures intended to protect against these events. Municipalities can then forecast the various scenarios, along with investments and potential damage avoidance and resulting cost savings in a visual, GIS analytical software interface.

“Blue Marble is pleased to provide software consulting and development to assist the University of Southern Maine with such a timely and useful tool,” stated Blue Marble President Patrick Cunningham. “3-D GIS visualization tools are a great way for interested parties to view and model different strategies to protect their valuable coastal assets. We are excited to be a part of this.”

“This tool will help many coastal communities begin to grapple effectively with sea level rise and make solid decisions about how to move forward. Blue Marble is providing a very valuable service, with great innovation and flexibility,” said Merrill.

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