Current Legislative Priorities

Digital Coast Act

Other Priorities:


Digital Coast Act: S.1069 and H.R.2189

Coastal issues have enormous consequences for NSGIC member states and state GIOs work with coastal managers to help improve resiliency efforts. As a charter member of the Digital Coast Partnership, NSGIC has actively worked with other Digital Coast partners and MAPPS (the trade association for private sector geospatial firms) to promote legislation that will authorize the Digital Coast Program managed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office for Coastal Management. 

Supporting the Digital Coast Act is a critical step toward building more resilient coastal communities. Funding NOAA's Digital Coast Program will prevent costly duplication of effort by multiple state and local governments. Benefits of Digital Coast have been documented by NOAA as 3.5 times greater than the costs, translating into a return on investment of nearly 250 percent.

The Digital Coast Partnership includes seven other national organizations, including the American Planning Association, Association of State Flood Plain Managers, Coastal States Organization, National Association of Counties, National Estuarine Research Reserve Association, The Nature Conservancy and Urban Land Institute. Together, we work with NOAA to provide improved data, tools and training to federal, state and local coastal managers to improve management practices and coastal resiliency. NSGIC held its first Coastal Caucus in 2007 to ensure adequate information exchange at our conferences on coastal geospatial issues. 

Coastal ecosystems are highly productive areas boasting rich biodiversity, and the coastal communities that depend on these resources provide nearly 60 percent of our nation's gross domestic product. More than half of the nation's population lives in only 17 percent of the U.S. land area defined as coastal, and population densities within coastal counties are six times that of inland counties.

The effects of climate change, sea-level rise and increasing populations are becoming more pronounced and take a serious toll on the national economy. These threats translate into significant social and economic costs to communities: Hurricane Katrina cost $134 billion in total damage; flood damage costs are approximately $6 billion annually; and poor water quality translates to reduced ecological diversity, habitat function, and associated ecosystem services and is also a public health burden that has high costs.

The costs are also measured in human lives. Katrina killed more than 1800 people after striking Louisiana and Mississippi as a major hurricane in 2005. Superstorm Sandy, which hit the U.S. East Coast in October 2012, caused unprecedented damage, flooded subways, closed down all major airports and more than 15,000 flights, claimed more than 100 lives.