APA Digital Coast Key Findings

The APA Digital Coast Needs Assessment Survey yielded several key findings. Click on the category names for more details:

Professional Characteristics of Respondents

  • Two-thirds (67%) of respondents currently work or have previously worked as professional planners in the public sector of coastal jurisdictions.
  • All coastal areas of the United States and its territories are represented by respondents, with the majority (56%) representing the Atlantic Coast (Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, and Southeast)
  • Of the respondents who indicated they currently work or have previously worked as professional planners in the public sector of coastal jurisdictions, 46% served municipalities.
  • Nearly 60% of respondents are certified by the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP)

Personal and Organizational Capacity

  • More than two-thirds of respondents (67.1%) have at least an intermediate level of proficiency in the use of geospatial technology, although less than 5% consider themselves "expert."
  • More than 72% indicated at least frequent use of geospatial technology by their organizations, while fewer than 2% of respondents report their organizations never use geospatial technology.
  • Most respondents agree or strongly agree that their organizations are very aware of the capabilities of geospatial technology for planning (69%) and that there is strong support for geospatial technology within the organization (64%). However, only 28% of respondents agree or strongly agree that their organization provides/pays for all the needed training and only 25% of respondents agree or strongly agree that their organization funds sufficient investment in geospatial technology.
  • Nearly 64% of respondents indicated that their organizations generate geospatial data, while 55% of respondents reported their organizations disseminated geospatial data.

Issues

  • High or Very High Priority: Land Use Planning/Growth Management (86%) and Conservation (72%).
  • Low or Very Low Priority: Commercial Fishing (49%) and Subsidence (46%).
  • Not Applicable: Tsunami (including seiche) (18%), Commercial Fishing (13%), and Subsidence (13%).

Data Needs

  • Need Current Data: Land Elevation (68%) and Archaeological/Cultural Resources (63%).
  • Need Time-Series Data: Land Cover and Land Cover Change (48%) and Land Use (36%).
  • Need Data Projections: Relative Sea Level Rise (38%) and Risk Management Data (33%).
  • Do Not Need: Navigational (48%) and Bathymetric Elevation (44%).

Tool Needs

  • High or Very High Importance: Impervious Surface Analysis Tool (69%) and Coastal County Snapshots (62%)
  • Low or Very Low Importance: Electronic Navigational Chart Handler (41%) and Practitioner's Toolkit for Marine Conservation Agreements (39%)
  • Not Applicable: Historical Hurricane Tracks IMS and Nautical Chart Viewer (30% each)

Training Needs

  • High or Very High Interest: GIS Tools for Strategic Conservation Planning (52%) and Coastal Inundation Mapping (49%)
  • Low or Very Low Interest:  Assessing GIS for Your Organization (28%); Coastal Inundation Mapping (26%); and Remote Sensing for Spatial Analysts (26% each)
  • Not Applicable: Coastal Inundation Mapping (15%); N-SPECT and Roadmap for Adapting to Coastal Risk (14%)

Constraints

  • Biggest challenges in using coastal data and tools: Not Knowing what Data and Information are Available (56%) and Lack of Trained Staff (50%)

Communicating Planning Information

  • Communicating coastal or marine planning information to users: Very or Somewhat Easy (20%) versus Very or Somewhat Difficult (33%)
  • Planning information difficult to communicate to users: Benefits of limiting development in high-risk areas (44%) and risks posed by sea-level rise (38%). More than 20% of respondents reported no difficulty communicating with users.
  • Primary challenges communicating planning information to decision-makers: Competition between diverse community interests and values (56%) and lack of immediacy or urgency connected with the issue (47%)
  • Useful media for communicating about planning with decision-makers: Maps (60%) and Slide Shows (e.g. Power Point) (58%)