Slide Menu
System Maintenance Notice, Sunday, January 23, 2022 @ 8am-2pm Eastern. The Operations Team will be performing system maintenance on all server environments. During this scheduled downtime, InPort will not be available.
View All
Search Help Show/Hide Menu
Short Citation:
Office of Response and Restoration, 2022: Virginia ESI: HABITATS (Habitat Polygons),

Item Identification

Title: Virginia ESI: HABITATS (Habitat Polygons)
Short Name: Virginia_habitats
Status: Completed
Publication Date: 2005-12

This data set contains sensitive biological resource data for submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) and rare terrestrial plants/communities in Virginia. Vector polygons in this data set represent habitat distribution. Species-specific abundance, seasonality, status, life history, and source information are stored in relational data tables (described below) designed to be used in conjunction with this spatial data layer.This data set comprises a portion of the Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) data for Virginia. ESI data characterize the marine and coastal environments and wildlife by their sensitivity to spilled oil. The ESI data include information for three main components: shoreline habitats, sensitive biological resources, and human-use resources.


The ESI data were collected, mapped, and digitized to provide environmental data for oil spill planning and response. The Clean Water Act with amendments by the Oil Pollution Act of 1990 requires response plans for immediate and effective protection of sensitive resources.



Other Citation Details:

Prepared by Research Planning, Inc., Columbia, South Carolina for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Ocean Service, Office of Response and Restoration, Hazardous Materials Response Division, Seattle, Washington and NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office, Gloucester Point, Virginia.

Supplemental Information:

Resource Description - ESI Atlas for Virginia


Theme Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
ISO 19115 Topic Category environment
ISO 19115 Topic Category oceans
NOS Topic Category Environmental Monitoring
None Coastal resources
None Coastal Zone Management
None ESI
None Habitats
None Oil spill planning
None Sensitivity maps
None Wildlife

Spatial Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
None Virginia

Physical Location

Organization: Office of Response and Restoration
City: Silver Spring
State/Province: MD

Data Set Information

Data Set Scope Code: Data Set
Maintenance Frequency: None Planned
Data Presentation Form: vector digital data
Entity Attribute Overview:

In addition to the geographic data layers, six relational attribute or data tables, BIORES, BREED, SEASONAL, SOURCES, SPECIES, and STATUS, are used to store the complex biological data in the ESI data structure. The geographic data layer containing biological resource information (in this case, HABITATS) is linked to the Biological Resources table (BIORES) using the unique ID and the lookup table BIO_LUT, or it can be linked directly using RARNUM. The ID is a unique combination of the atlas number (for the Virginia atlas, the number is 55), an element/layer specific number (BIRDS are layer 1, FISH are layer 2, etc.), and a unique record number. The RARNUM represents a unique combination of species, seasonalities, concentrations, and source information. For each of these groupings, a number is generated. That number is concatenated with the atlas number to create a "resource at risk" number that is unique across atlases. BIORES and the other relational data tables are described below in detail. See the Browse_Graphic section for a link to the entity-relationship diagram, which describes the way these tables relate to the geographic data layers and other attribute tables in the ESI data structure.Due to the complexity of the relational database model, the data items are also post-processed into a flat file format. This table, called BIOFILE, may be used in place of the relational files described below to ease simple data queries. The items in the flat file are ELEMENT, SUBELEMENT, NAME, GEN_SPEC, S, F, NHP, DATE_PUB, CONC, JAN, FEB, MAR, APR, MAY, JUN, JUL, AUG, SEP, OCT, NOV, DEC, BREED1, BREED2, BREED3, BREED4, BREED5, RARNUM, G_SOURCE, S_SOURCE, and BREED. All of these items are the same as their counterparts in the individual data tables described below, except the BREED1-BREED5 and BREED items. BREED is a newly generated variable used to link to the BREED_DT data table, a modified, more compact version of the relational BREED data table. BREED1-BREED5 give a text summary of when each life stage occurs within the associated map object. The life stages referred to are the same as those listed in the Detailed_Description of the BREED data table. The link to the BIOFILE may be made through the BIO_LUT, using ID to link to RARNUM, or BIOFILE may be linked directly to the RARNUM in each of the geographic layer's attribute data tables. As mentioned, BREED_DT is an auxiliary support data table to the flat file structure, which allows the user to do searches based on month for seasonal breeding activities. The link from the flat file to BREED_DT is the BREED item.A second supporting data table is SOURCES. This is the same as the source file described above, and the link from the flat file is both G_SOURCE and S_SOURCE. It should be noted that although the flat file eases data query, it is not a normalized database structure, and actual updates performed by the states and other responsible agencies should be done using the relational data tables. The entity-relationship diagram, describing relationships between attribute tables in the ESI data structure, does NOT include the BIOFILE data table, and this data table is NOT described in detail below.

Entity Attribute Detail Citation:


Distribution Liability:

Although these data have been processed successfully on a computer system at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, no warranty, expressed or implied, is made by NOAA regarding the utility of the data on any other system, nor shall the act of distribution constitute any such warranty. NOAA warrants the delivery of this product in computer-readable format, and will offer a replacement copy of the product when the product is determined unreadable by computer-input peripherals, or when the physical medium is delivered in damaged condition.

Data Set Credit: This project was supported by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Ocean Service, Office of Response and Restoration, Hazardous Materials Response Division, Seattle, Washington and NOAA Chesapeake Bay Office, Gloucester Point, Virginia.

Support Roles

Data Steward

CC ID: 516389
Date Effective From: 2005-12
Date Effective To:
Contact (Position): ESI Program Manager
Address: 7600 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115
Email Address:


CC ID: 516391
Date Effective From: 2005-12
Date Effective To:
Contact (Position): ESI Program Manager
Address: 7600 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115
Email Address:

Metadata Contact

CC ID: 516392
Date Effective From: 2005-12
Date Effective To:
Contact (Position): ESI Program Manager
Address: 7600 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115
Email Address:

Point of Contact

CC ID: 516390
Date Effective From: 2005-12
Date Effective To:
Contact (Position): ESI Program Manager
Address: 7600 Sand Point Way NE
Seattle, WA 98115
Email Address:


Currentness Reference: The biological data were compiled during 2004-2005. The currentness dates for the data range from 2002 to 2004 and are documented in the Lineage section.

Extent Group 1

Extent Group 1 / Geographic Area 1

CC ID: 516395
W° Bound: -77.5
E° Bound: -75.125
N° Bound: 38.875
S° Bound: 36.5

Extent Group 1 / Time Frame 1

CC ID: 516394
Time Frame Type: Range
Start: 2002
End: 2004

Spatial Information

Spatial Representation

Representations Used

Vector: Yes

Vector Representation 1

CC ID: 589281
Complex Object Present?: Yes
Complex Object Count: 1368
Curve Object Present?: Yes
Curve Object Count: 251643
Point Object Present?: Yes
Point Object Count: 1368
Surface Object Present?: Yes
Surface Object Count: 1771

Access Information

Security Class: Unclassified
Data Access Procedure:

Contact NOAA for distribution options (see Distributor). ESI data are processed into multiple formats to make them useful to a wider community of GIS/mapping users. Distribution formats include ARC export, MOSS and Shape files, and MARPLOT map folders. An ArcView ESI project and ESI_Viewer product are also included on the distribution CDs for ease of use of the ESI data. The database files are distributed both in the NOAA standard relational database format (see NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS ORCA 115) and in a simplified desktop flat file format. This metadata document includes information on both of these database formats.;

Data Access Constraints:


Data Use Constraints:

DO NOT USE MAPS FOR NAVIGATIONAL PURPOSES.Besides the above warning, there are no use constraints on these data. Note that the ESI database should not be used to the exclusion of other pertinent data or information held by state or federal agencies or other organizations. Likewise, information contained in the database cannot be used in place of consultations with environmental, natural resource, and cultural resource agencies, or in place of field surveys. Recognize that the information contained in the ESI database represents known concentration areas or occurrences of natural, cultural, and human-use resources, but does not necessarily represent the full distribution or range of each species or resource. This is particularly important to recognize when considering potential impacts to protected resources, such as endangered species, wetlands, etc. Acknowledgment of the originators, publishers, contributors, and sources listed would be appreciated in products derived from these data.



CC ID: 516387
URL Type:
Online Resource

Activity Log

Activity Log 1

CC ID: 516408
Activity Date/Time: 2005-12

Date that the source FGDC record was last modified.

Activity Log 2

CC ID: 516407
Activity Date/Time: 2017-04-05

Converted from Content Standards for Digital Geospatial Metadata (version FGDC-STD-001-1998) using '' script. Contact Tyler Christensen (NOS) for details.

Activity Log 3

CC ID: 589279
Activity Date/Time: 2017-09-13

Partial upload of Spatial Info section only.

Activity Log 4

CC ID: 605546
Activity Date/Time: 2017-11-01

Replaced entire Lineage section to populate new Source Contribution field.

Activity Log 5

CC ID: 719417
Activity Date/Time: 2018-02-08

Partial upload of Positional Accuracy fields only.

Technical Environment


The software packages used to develop the atlas are Environmental Systems Research Institute's ARC/INFO(r) (version 8.3) and SQL SERVER(r) (version 7.0). The hardware configuration is PC's with Windows Operating System (NT4.0/2000).The Spatial_Data_Organization Information section refers only to the source files in the ARC export format. The following files are included in that data set: birds.e00, esi.e00, fish.e00, habitats.e00, hydro.e00, index.e00, invert.e00, m_mammal.e00, mgt.e00, nests.e00, reptiles.e00, reptpt.e00, socecon.e00, t_mammal.e00, wetlands.e00. Associated relational and desktop data tables provided in Arc export and text format are bio_lut, biofile, biores, breed, breed_dt, seasonal, soc_dat, soc_lut, sources, species, and status.

Data Quality


A multi-stage error checking process is used to verify both attribute accuracy and logical consistency throughout data production. The process includes a standardized data entry methodology, hardcopy data review by in-house and external resource experts, a final Quality Assurance/Quality Control (QA/QC) process, and multiple automated logical consistency checks. Quantitative data (such as densities, counts, abundances, or concentrations) provided by resource experts for inclusion in the data set may vary widely in attribute accuracy, depending upon the methodology used to collect and compile such data. For a more detailed evaluation of source data attribute accuracy, contact the sources listed in the Lineage section.

Horizontal Positional Accuracy:

Spatial components for the biological data layers can come from expert interviews, hardcopy, or digital sources. Most of the spatial components of the biological data layers are developed using regional experts who estimate concentration areas. It is difficult to estimate the positional accuracy of such data, except to state that they are compiled on hardcopy base maps with a scale of 1:24,000. Some of the spatial components of the biological data sets are developed from pre-existing digital or hardcopy sources and reflect the positional accuracy of these original data. See the Lineage and Process_Description sections for more information on the original data source and how these data were integrated or manipulated to create the final data set. Note that biological resource data by their very nature are considered "fuzzy", and this should be understood when considering the positional accuracy of vector digital objects representing these resources.

Completeness Report:

These data represent a synthesis of expert knowledge and digital data on habitat distribution. These data do not necessarily represent all habitat occurrences in Virginia. The following species are included in this data set: (Species_ID, Common Name, Scientific Name [n/a if not applicable]): 145, Seabeach amaranth, Amaranthus pumilus; 187, Sea-beach knotweed, Polygonum glaucum; 214, Rare plant, n/a; 609, Submerged aquatic vegetation, n/a; 610, Dixie sandmat, Chamaesyce bombensis; 611, Maritime dune scrub, n/a; 1035, Sea level fen, n/a; 1053, Native coastal strand vegetation, n/a.

Conceptual Consistency:

A multi-stage error checking process, described in the above Attribute_Accuracy_Report, is used to verify both attribute accuracy and logical consistency throughout data production. This process includes multiple automated logical consistency checks that test the files for missing or duplicate data, rules for proper coding, GIS topological consistencies (such as dangles, unnecessary nodes, etc.), and SQL SERVER(r) to ARC/INFO(r) consistencies. A final review is made by the GIS manager, where the data are written to CD-ROM and the metadata are written.After the data are delivered to NOAA, they are again subjected to a number of quality and consistency checks. In the process of checking for topological and database consistencies, new ID's and RARNUM's or HUNUM's are also generated. The new ID's are a combination of atlas number, element number, and record number. In addition, the value used to represent the element is modified to reflect the type of feature being mapped. In the case of an element that is normally represented by a point or polygon, a value of 20 is added to the standard element value for mapping of linear features. In the case where an element usually mapped as a polygon is represented by a point, a value of 30 is added to the regular element value. The RARNUM's are also modified to include the atlas number, so multiple atlases can be combined and RARNUM's remain unique. RARNUM's are redefined on an element basis, so "resource at risk" groupings will contain only a single element. HUNUM's are also modified to include the atlas number.




CC ID: 605548
Publish Date: 2004-01-01
Extent Type: Discrete
Extent Start Date/Time: 2004
Source Contribution:



CC ID: 605550
Publish Date: 2003-01-01
Extent Type: Range
Extent Start Date/Time: 2002
Extent End Date/Time: 2003
Scale Denominator: 24000
Source Contribution:

HABITATS INFORMATION | Source Geospatial Form: DIGITAL VECTOR DATA | Type of Source Media: online


CC ID: 605549
Publish Date: 2004-01-01
Extent Type: Discrete
Extent Start Date/Time: 2004
Source Contribution:



CC ID: 605547
Publish Date: 2004-01-01
Extent Type: Discrete
Extent Start Date/Time: 2004
Source Contribution:


Process Steps

Process Step 1

CC ID: 605551

Two main sources of data were used to depict habitat distribution and seasonality for this data layer: (1) personal interviews with resource experts from the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation\x92s Division of Natural Heritage and the U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE (USFWS), and (2) a 2003 Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS) Chesapeake Bay Submerged Aquatic Vegetation digital vector data coverage.The above digital and/or hardcopy sources were compiled by the project biologist to create the HABITATS data layer. Depending on the type of source data, three general approaches are used for compiling a biology data layer: (1) information gathered during initial interviews and from hardcopy sources are compiled onto U.S. Geological Survey 1:24,000 topographic quadrangles and digitized; (2) hardcopy maps are digitized at their source scale; (3) digital data layers are evaluated and used "as is" or integrated with the hardcopy data sources. See the Lineage section for additional information on the type of source data for this data layer. The compiled ESI, biology, and human-use data are plotted onto hardcopy draft maps. Following the delivery of draft maps to the participating resource experts, a second set of interviews is conducted to review the maps. If necessary, edits to the HABITATS data layer are made based on the recommendations of the resource experts, and final hardcopy maps and digital data are created.

Process Date/Time: 2005-05-01 00:00:00

Child Items

Rubric scores updated every 15m

Rubric Score Type Title
Entity BIO_LUT
Entity BREED

Catalog Details

Catalog Item ID: 40596
GUID: gov.noaa.nmfs.inport:40596
Metadata Record Created By: Tyler Christensen
Metadata Record Created: 2017-04-05 14:52+0000
Metadata Record Last Modified By: SysAdmin InPortAdmin
Metadata Record Last Modified: 2019-06-04 13:14+0000
Metadata Record Published: 2018-02-08
Owner Org: ORR
Metadata Publication Status: Published Externally
Do Not Publish?: N
Metadata Next Review Date: 2019-02-09