HRRC’s coastal planning
atlas debuts on Web


The Coastal Communities Planning Atlas, developed by the Hazards Reduction and Recovery Center of Texas A&M University’s College of Architecture, is a new Internet tool designed to provide images of possible futures of coastal areas in Texas.

“We wanted to create a Web-based, visual spatial decision support tool, where anybody with an internet connection, whether you’re a mayor, planner, or resident on the coast, can view, interact with data and predict impacts of development on coastal areas,” said Sam Brody, associate professor of urban planning at Texas A&M and a faculty fellow with the Hazards Reduction and Recovery Center.

Visitors to the site,, can drop one or many of the atlas’ 75 information layers two counties deep all along the Texas coast, or pinpoint a spot by zooming in to a specific location. The HRRC gathered data sets such as hurricane storm surge zones, property values, elevation, dams, wetland permits and many more.

“We’ve got interdisciplinary sets of data for all these different layers,” said Brody. “It lets you look at multiple layers of information at the same time and interact with it.”

The Hazard Reduction and Recovery Center worked with many partners for the atlas, including the Department of Oceanography at Texas A&M. “We worked with them to create a really detailed, coastal topography data set,” said Brody.

The atlas’ customization is so thorough users can even upload their own data and include it with existing data.

“I’m really proud of the way it’s turned out,” said Brody.

The center is now busy publicizing the atlas; HRRC representatives have given community presentations in Galveston and Corpus Christi, and are also putting together mailing lists.

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