Digital Shoreline Analysis System (DSAS) Version 5.1 User Guide

Open-File Report 2021-1091
By: , and 



The Digital Shoreline Analysis System version 5 software is an add-in to Esri ArcGIS Desktop version 10.4–10.7 that enables a user to calculate rate-of-change statistics from a time series of vector shoreline positions. The Digital Shoreline Analysis System provides an automated method for establishing measurement locations, performs rate calculations, provides the statistical data necessary to assess the reliability of the rates, and includes a beta model for forecasting shoreline position. The Digital Shoreline Analysis System version 5.1 includes updates to the interface and the application of proxy-datum bias. This in-depth user guide provides comprehensive instruction on the installation and use of the program, including how to create a reference baseline for measurements, steps needed to generate measurement transects and metadata, guidelines on how to manually add or edit existing transects, and an explanation of the visualization options to display calculated rates of shoreline change.

Note: As of May 2024, the current version of the Digital Shoreline Analysis System (DSAS), version 6.0, is a standalone desktop application for calculating shoreline or boundary change over time. The user guide for DSAS version 5.1 is applicable to many aspects of version 6.0. The user guide provides relevant information on the DSAS workflow, including how to define a reference baseline for measurements, attribute requirements for baselines and shorelines, and supporting information on rate calculations and statistics.

Suggested Citation

Himmelstoss, E.A., Henderson, R.E., Kratzmann, M.G., and Farris, A.S., 2021, Digital Shoreline Analysis System (DSAS) version 5.1 user guide: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2021–1091, 104 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Table of Contents

  • Acknowledgments
  • Abstract
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Installation Steps
  • 3. Sample Data
  • 4. DSAS Toolbar
  • 5. Required Inputs
  • 6. DSAS Workflow
  • 7. Statistics
  • 8. Beta Shoreline Forecasting
  • 9. Summary Report
  • 10. Metadata
  • 11. References Cited
  • 12. Appendix 1. Troubleshooting
  • 13.Appendix 2. Calculating and Applying the Proxy-Datum Bias Between High-Water Line and Mean High Water Shorelines
  • 14. Appendix 3. Summary Report Text
  • 15. Appendix 4. Sample Data Workflows
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Digital Shoreline Analysis System (DSAS) version 5.1 user guide
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2021-1091
DOI 10.3133/ofr20211091
Year Published 2021
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description Report: xi, 104 p.; Software Release
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details