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NCCOS Project

Habitat Digitizer Extension

This project began in January 2003 and is Ongoing

The Habitat Digitizer Extension is a GIS tool that was developed to delineate features by visually interpreting georeferenced images and also to select attributes using a dialog containing a custom hierarchical classification scheme. This GIS tool can be used to develop habitat map products for resource analysis and management.

What We Did
The Habitat Digitizer is an ArcGIS extension that helps scientists delineate features by visually interpreting georeferenced images such as aerial photographs, satellite images, and side scan sonar. The extension allows users to create custom hierarchical classification schemes, digitize polygons, lines, and points using standard ArcGIS editing tools, and attribute the features using a dialog containing the user-created scheme. The extension allows new hierarchical classification schemes to be easily created, modified, and saved for use on future mapping projects. There are several advantages to using classification schemes with a hierarchical structure: the detail of habitat categories can be expanded or collapsed to suit user needs, the thematic accuracy of each category/hierarchical level can be determined, and additional categories can be easily added or deleted at any level of the scheme to suit user needs.

Reviews of the Tool

  • “MANY THANKS for the digitizer!  And congrats - it is a widely used tool, and a great contribution.”  - NCCOS Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research
  • I have very successfully used the NOS Habitat Digitizer Extension to delineate nearshore vegetation. I like the hierarchy approach facilitated by the Habitat Digitizer extension.” - Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
  • “My group at the USGS has been using your habitat digitizer for our benthic habitat mapping in the Hawaiian islands. It's really quite exceptional.” - USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
  • “This is an incredibly useful tool. I am using it to classify parts of the outer Great Barrier Reef.” - James Cook University, Australia
  • “I am planning to use the Habitat Digitizer Extension to assist with the benthic mapping of the Grenadine Islands of the Grenada Bank in the Caribbean. I love your extension and how easy it is to use!”  - University of the West Indies

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