Skip Links

USGS - science for a changing world
CZM logo with link to CZM home page  

Open-File Report 2012–1183

Massachusetts Shoreline Change Project: A GIS Compilation of Vector Shorelines and Associated Shoreline Change Data for the 2013 Update

By Theresa L. Smith, Emily A. Himmelstoss, and E. Robert Thieler

Thumbnail of report PDF (9  MB)


Identifying the rates and trends associated with the position of the shoreline through time presents vital information on potential impacts these changes may have on coastal populations and infrastructure, and supports informed coastal management decisions. This report publishes the historical shoreline data used to assess the scale and timing of erosion and accretion along the Massachusetts coast from New Hampshire to Rhode Island including all of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket and the Elizabeth Islands. This data is an update to the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management Shoreline Change Project. Shoreline positions from the past 164 years (1845 to 2009) were used to compute the shoreline change rates. These data include a combined length of 1,804 kilometers of new shoreline data derived from color orthophoto imagery collected in 2008 and 2009, and topographic lidar collected in 2007. These new shorelines have been added to previously published historic shoreline data from the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management and the U.S. Geological Survey. A detailed report containing a discussion of the shoreline change data presented here and a summary of the resulting rates is available and cited at the end of the Introduction section of this report.

First posted September 6, 2013

For additional information contact:
Director, Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center
U.S. Geological Survey
384 Woods Hole Road
Quissett Campus
Woods Hole, MA 02543

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:

Smith, T.L., Himmelstoss, E.A., and Thieler, E.R., 2013, Massachusetts shoreline change project—A GIS compilation of vector shorelines and associated shoreline change data for the 2013 update: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2012–1183,




Data Sources


Geospatial Data


References Cited

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

Take Pride in America logo logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: GS Pubs Web Contact
Page Last Modified: Friday, 06-Sep-2013 11:36:10 EDT