Tools & Resources

Supporting local capacity to plan and prepare for coastal hazards

There are several coastal resilience resource hubs that collect a variety of tools and resources meant to help decision-makers such as coastal managers, local officials or other policy-makers, property owners, emergency managers, and planners address coastal hazards.

Resource of the Month

Many coastal management tools and resources exist inside and outside of the following resource hubs. Different tools and resources are highlighted in the Resource of the Month blog. Each post summarizes what the resource is, how it is intended to be used, tips for navigating or using the resource, and who might find it useful. You can explore these featured resources in the Blog.

Wisconsin Resource Hubs

Policy, Planning, & Risk Reduction Strategies Webpage

This webpage lists products and other complementary resources that support policy, planning and risk reduction efforts addressing coastal resilience.

The self-assessment provides a starting point to identify opportunities to increase a community’s resilience to coastal hazards. 

Resources produced as part of the Southeastern Wisconsin Coastal Resilience Project to provide education and guidance on risk reduction strategies that can be utilized to protect Great Lakes bluffs, beaches, and waterfront infrastructure.

Guidance on coastal ordinances and policies that can help reduce risk to coastal development and limit adverse impacts to the coastline.

Guidance on incorporating vulnerability, hazards, and resilience in comprehensive and hazard mitigation planning.

Wisconsin Coastal Atlas

Wisconsin Sea Grant’s Wisconsin Coastal Atlas is a technology platform designed to support understanding of coastal issues, share coastal data, and inform decision-making about the sustainable use of the Great Lakes. Coastal managers, planners, researches, educators, tourists, community scientists, and coastal residents can find and access a variety of decision-support tools and place-based learning resources.

The atlas includes five elements: maps, catalog, tools, learn and topics. These five elements work together to provide access to resources that can help address specific coastal management issues on the Great Lakes, such as building community resilience to coastal hazards.

The Wisconsin Coastal Atlas, however, is more than just a Web portal – it is also a research project that helps to build a coastal spatial data infrastructure for Wisconsin. The primary motivation of the research is demonstrating that a coastal Web atlas can serve as an interoperable resource both internally and externally. The atlas leverages local government data and integrates it to address regional and statewide issues. In addition, the atlas shares data at broader scales ranging from the Great Lakes to global. The latter is demonstrated through active collaboration with the International Coastal Atlas Network, which utilized a coastal erosion as a use case to show that individual atlases could be searched to access geospatial data as part of a broader global network of coastal atlases.

  • Maps

    A gallery of interactive maps allowing users to explore coastal issues. An example of an interactive map that addresses resilience to coastal hazards is the “Wisconsin Shoreline Inventory and Oblique Photo Viewer” developed by the Association of State Floodplain Managers with support from the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program. The viewer lets users explore how the Great Lakes coasts of Wisconsin have changed since 1976 by viewing oblique photos and classification of beach and bluff conditions.

  • Tools

    A gateway to tools that guide decisions about coastal management. This is accomplished in two ways – first, by linking to innovative decision-support tools for coastal management, and second, by leveraging the spatial data catalog of the atlas to develop new spatial decision support tools. “Visualizing Coastal Erosion on the Great Lakes” is an example of a tool that addresses coastal resilience.

  • Topics

    Quick access to maps, tools, data and learning resources relevant to specific coastal management issues on the Great Lakes. At this point there are four topics relevant to southeastern Wisconsin included in the atlas – bluff erosion, coastal flooding, beaches and port/harbor/marina infrastructure.

  • Catalog

    Discover, access, and download geospatial data relevant to the coasts of the Great Lakes. Catalog technology platforms include GeoServer – a free and open-source geospatial software server; Open Geoportal – a map-based interface to search, preview and download geospatial data; and GeoNetwork – an interoperable geospatial metadata catalog. The WCA catalog interface also includes a simple data download matrix inspired by the open data catalog at the city of Vancouver, British Columbia, as well as links to a variety of state, regional and national geospatial catalogs. An example of a data set relevant to coastal resilience in the atlas catalog is one including representations of historic bluff tops and toes for seven counties along Lake Michigan.

  • Learn

    Information about Great Lakes coastal issues and place-based learning. The “Great Lakes Coastal Resilience Planning Guide” developed by the Association of State Floodplain Managers as part of the NOAA Digital Coast Partnership is an example of a learning resources that promotes resilience to coastal hazards.

Wisconsin Coastal Hazards Bibliography

Wisconsin Sea Grant’s Wisconsin Coastal Hazards Bibliography was a product of the Integrated Assessment project. This publicly available hub is an on-line bibliography of relevant research on variable water levels and coastal bluffs. The hub contains more than 140 items; however, it was last updated in 2015, so the most recent coastal hazards research is not yet available on the Bibliography. Users can search the Bibliography by title, creator, date, or topic tags (i.e. bluff erosions, climate modeling, or water levels).

Coastal Management Resource Hubs

U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit

NOAA’s U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit is a compilation of a Steps to Resilience framework, case studies, and tools aimed at improving understanding and management of climate-related risks to build resilience to extreme events. This website compiles tools, information, and subject matter expertise from across the U.S. federal government.

A Tour the Toolkit video is available for users to view. This short video describes the purpose of the Toolkit and how to explore the features of the website.

Follow a decision-support framework for updating local hazard plans to incorporate climate-related hazards and resilience. The framework outlines how to :
  1. Explore Hazards
  2. Assess Vulnerability & Risk
  3. Investigate Options
  4. Prioritize & Plan
  5. Take Action
Find case studies of communities taking action to document climate vulnerabilities and climate resilience projects. Case studies can be viewed on a map or in a list and can be filtered by threat, topic, region, or steps from the Steps to Resilience framework.
Find and access climate data and assessment tools from the catalog of more than 200 tools. Tools can be filtered by topic, region, steps from the Steps to Resilience framework, or tool function (i.e. identify vulnerabilities or analyze/download data). This hub contains data, analysis, visualization, communication, planning, and forecasting tools.
Find experts, reports, training courses, and state climate summaries that can help build knowledge and skills to manage climate-related risks and build resilience.
Regional climate reports summarize regional impacts of a changing climate, increased risks to the Great Lakes, and where more information can be found about climate change variability and climate resilience.

NOAA Digital Coast

NOAA’s Digital Coast resource hub is supported by the Digital Coast Act which aims to fill data information gaps, develop publicly available tools, provide a greater focus on underserved areas, and document best practices.

Content for this information platform is compiled from a variety of reputable sources. The Digital Coast is formatted to make data, tools, trainings, and case studies easy-to-find and easy-to-use. Coastal managers can search for resources by data type, region, focus area, and product type.

NOAA’s Office for Coastal Management offers a Diving into the Digital Coast training to orient coastal managers to the Digital Coast platform and demonstrate how to find and apply data and tools from the platform to address coastal issues.


Find and download data for your coastal management needs.

  • Elevation
  • Land Cover
  • Weather, Climate, & Hazards
  • Imagery
  • Economic & Demographic
  • More

Use these tools to turn data into helpful information. Focus areas:

  • Climate Adaptation
  • Coastal Conservation
  • Coastal Economy
  • Coastal Hazards
  • Community Resilience
  • Green Infrastructure
  • Land Use Planning
  • Water Quality

NOAA's Digital Coast Academy offers a variety of learning resources.

  • Classroom & Online Scheduled Trainings
  • On-Demand Products: self-guided resources, case studies, publications, quick references, & videos and webinars

See how organizations use Digital Coast resources to address coastal issues. Find case studies by searching by region, data type, or focus area.