The California Shoreline Mapping Project

Rising sea levels of up to 1.4 m by 2100 will have significant impacts on California’s coastline. While bays and estuaries are expected to experience the most dramatic modifications in the coming century, changes will be felt far inland from the immediate shoreline zone. Elevation of the land surface is a critical data set needed to help estimate the magnitude of sea level rise impacts.
The California Shoreline Mapping Program will create a modern elevation map of the state’s coastline (shore to 10 meters in elevation) to help coastal communities understand and prepare for sea level rise and severe storms. By integrating newly collected seafloor mapping data, California will soon be able to create a seamless, onshore-offshore high-resolution elevation map of the state’s 1,100-mile coastal zone from Oregon to Mexico.
  • INNOVATION This project will produce the most detailed map of the California coastline ever created, combining state-of-the-art remote sensing technologies such as LiDAR (Light Detecting and Ranging) and very high resolution digital orthophotos to produce a detailed 3-dimensional picture of the coast.
  • USES Baseline information to measure everything from the impact of climate-related rising oceans, to beach erosion, to flooding risks from large winter storms.
  • PARTNERSHIPS Furthering the partnerships of the Seafloor Mapping Program, this highly collaborative project is another excellent example of state and federal agencies working together to provide cost-effective, useful, science-based information to aid in important decision making
This project builds from a multi-agency OPC-organized meeting on December 18, 2008, to assist in planning the California Coastal LiDAR Project (CCLP). The meeting gathered agency needs for a LiDAR dataset, discussed technical and geographic specifications, and determined how to obtain the most widely accessible and useful dataset.  A summary report on the meeting can be found below.

Council Documents
Staff Recommendation for $2,750,000 of OPC funding for Coastal LiDAR mapping (Sept 2010)
Summary report of the California Coastal LiDAR Project (Dec 2008)

OPC Staff Contact:
Abe Doherty
(510) 286-4183