GIS Analysis of Coastal Development in the North Shore of Massachusetts

Authors: James Burgess*,
Topics: Geographic Information Science and Systems, Population Geography
Keywords: GIS, Massachusetts, population
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


The purpose of this project is to determine if the population along Massachusetts’ North Shore coast has been increasing since the 1990’s. If so, these areas of growth would be in harms way due to rising sea levels and expanding flood zones. Using data from MassGIS, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts's Bureau of Geographic Information, I gathered block level Census data (1990, 2000, & 2010) for cities in the North Shore region and identified which Census blocks experienced growth or decline over this time period. I converted the polygons into a raster layer and reclassified the data to display only the pixels that had shown growth. The raster was clipped to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Flood Hazard zones with a 1% annual risk of flooding. Finally, I calculated the total percent of growth that occurred within these flood zones for each city and town in the North Shore. This is increasingly an important area to study as sea level rise and flooding pose greater threats to those living in proximity to the coast. If development along the coast continues, more people will be effected and the overall damage of flood events will be greater than in the past. From my findings, on average 15% pf population development occurring in the North Shore region is within annual flood zones, in some cities as much as 50%.

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