Public Lab Research note

Annotating the North Shore

by liz | August 01, 2014 20:01 01 Aug 20:01 | #11003 | #11003

What I want to do

Staten Island's North Shore Waterfront Conservancy is making a map featuring individual industrial & ecological sites along the North Shore for their project Shore Up: Community Resilience & Adapation Project (SUCRA). Here's the link to our map:

The base imagery was captured from a boat via kite and GoPro on June 27, 2014. Annotations were added by Beryl Thurman with assistance from organizer Bronwen. Charles Stewart, ""expert"" kiter, also attended.

My attempt and results

Adding the annotations ended up being much more important than stitching the actual imagery together. We quickly exported this map and began adding annotations featuring Beryl's expertise on waterfront use and development.


We explored adding color-coded polygons to describe the bulkhead condition and likelihood of flooding, and writing descriptions and embedding snapshots (uploaded to flickr) into the infowindows:


The annotations are more interesting than the map mostly because our photos just barely caught the edge of the shore (we were boating in the middle of the channel) and lens distortion severely affected the quality of the images.

Here's a typical example of what one of our images looks like. Even so, we feel lucky that we captured at least this much and look forward to going out again in a smaller craft.


Here's what that same image looked like after a few steps to remove lens distortion, crop, warp, and delete edges: Screen_Shot_2014-08-01_at_3.19.09_PM.png

Here's what a different image looks like stitched into a map. In fact, this was the only image we stitched onto the map before exporting and starting to annotate:


Questions and next steps

We are going to add in more base imagery under the annotations because it does capture valuable bulkhead details even if inland features are too distorted to be used for map-making.

We are in talks with Kayak Staten Island to figure out a good option for a smaller craft that could carry aerial mappers closer to the shoreline. Luckily, they already know Eymund. :)

Why I'm interested

The North Shore Waterfront Conservancy has received a NYS DEC Environmental Justice Community Impact Grant. The purpose of this study is to analyze the North Shore's shore line, which was once mostly tidal wetlands that over time was filled for industrial uses. These locations are flood prone and we are creating a GIS map of these sites to identify natural and or man made berms that may or may not exist, in order to determine where the North Shore is vulnerable to Climate Change effects such as sea level rising, storm surges, flooding as well as legacy contamination. Read more:


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