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Open-File Report 02–211

Historic Topographic Sheets to Satellite Imagery: A Methodology for Evaluating Coastal Change in Florida's Big Bend Tidal Marsh

By Ellen A. Raabe, Amy E. Streck, and Richard P. Stumpf

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This open-file report details the methodology used to rectify, digitize, and mosaic nineteen 19th century topographic sheets on the marsh-dominated Big Bend Gulf coast of Florida. Historic charts of tidal marshes in Florida's Big Bend were prepared in a digital grid-based format for comparison with modern features derived from 1995 satellite imagery. The chart-by-chart rectification process produced a map accuracy of ±8 m. An effort was made to evaluate secondary map features, such as tree islands, but changes during the intervening years exceed standard surveying errors and rendered the analysis ineffective. A map, at 1:300,000 comparing historic and modern features, is provided to illustrate major changes along the coastline. Shoreline erosion is exceeded by the inland migration of the intertidal zone onto adjoining coastal forest lands. While statements of mapping accuracy are provided in the text, graphic representation of changes in the intertidal zone may be inexact at any given location. Thus caution is advised for site-specific applications. Maps and digital files provided should be used to visualize overall trends and regional anomalies, and not used to critically assess features at a particular location. Final product includes mosaic of historic coastal features and comparison to modern features.

Published in 2004
First posted October 7, 2010
Revised June 28, 2012

  • Report PDF (3.75 MB)
  • Report Readme file (text)
  • Plate 4 PDF (5.5 MB)
  • Geodata (78 MB; Zip)
    (GeoTIFF image of historic chart mosaic, digitized historic features in ESRI ArcMap shapefile format, Maps of Florida's West Coast showing features surveyed in the 19th century and digitized by USGS)
  • Data Readme file (text)

For additional information contact:
Ellen Raabe
U.S. Geological Survey
St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center
600 4th Street South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701

Part or all of this report is presented in Portable Document Format (PDF); the latest version of Adobe Reader or similar software is required to view it. Download the latest version of Adobe Reader, free of charge.

Suggested citation:

Raabe, E.A., Streck, A.E., and Stumpf, R.P., 2004, Historic topographic sheets to satellite imagery—A methodology for evaluating coastal change in Florida's Big Bend tidal marsh: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 02–211 (as revised in 2012) , 44 p.





Presentation of Maps



Appendix I

Appendix II

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