Habitat Digitizer GIS Tool Demonstrated for Use in Mapping Coral Reef Ecosystems
A researcher from NOAA’s National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science demonstrated the Habitat Digitizer Extension for ArcGIS9 at a workshop on Technology Tools for Ecosystem Based Management of Coral Reefs, emphasizing its applicability for mapping benthic marine habitats. The digitizer enables users to visually interpret georeferenced images, such as aerial photographs, satellite images, and side scan sonar, and apply a hierarchical classification scheme to delineate habitats. The extension allows users to create, modify, and save custom habitat classification schemes and rapidly delineate and attribute polygons, lines, and points using simple menus. The tool, step-by-step instructions, and descriptions of the various functions are available online to all users at http://ccma.nos.noaa.gov/products/biogeography/digitizer/. The workshop was convened July 12 at the International Coral Reef Symposium in Ft. Lauderdale, FL, with participation by scientists, students, and natural resource managers.