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Short Citation:
Office for Coastal Management, 2023: North Carolina Seagrass Submersed Rooted Vasculars 1990 Geoform,

Item Identification

Title: North Carolina Seagrass Submersed Rooted Vasculars 1990 Geoform
Short Name: nc90-geoform_Metadata
Status: Completed
Publication Date: 2015

A GIS data set of polygon data interpreted from aerial photography taken by NOAA/NOS Photogrammetry Branch depicting areas of Aquatic Beds of Rooted Vascular Plants in coastal north Carolina. Predominantly submersed rooted vasculars (SRV) but including some floating rooted vasculars (FRV). The nomenclature and definitions originally developed according to the Coastal Land Cover Classification System for the NOAA Coastal Change Analysis Project (C-CAP), Journal of Coastal Research 9(3):862-872 have been crosswalked into the Florida System For Classification of Habitats in Estuarine and Marine Environments (SCHEME) to build consistency with similar NOAA developed benthic data sets.

Original contact information:

Contact Org: NOAA Office for Coastal Management

Phone: 843-740-1202



To improve the understanding of coastal photic submersed lands and their linkages with wetlands and uplands, and with living marine organisms. To assist government agencies and others in making resource management decisions through the use of GIS.



Supplemental Information:

Photointerpretation with a Wild AVIOPRET stereoscope. Photographs and data were compiled on a Bausch and Lomb stereo zoom transfer scope at a scale of 1:24,000 on USGS 7.5' topographic maps or on NOAA shoreline topographic sheets scaled to 1:24,000 (original scale 1:20,000). Data is a merge of several coverages dependent on map base, photo mission, and photographic scale.


Theme Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Science Keywords
Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Science Keywords
Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Science Keywords
ISO 19115 Topic Category
None Aquatic Bed
None Bushy Pondweed
None Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard
None Eelgrass
None Estuarine Rooted Vascular
None Eurasian Water Milfoil
None Geoform Component
None Halodule Wrightii
None Horned Pondweed
None Leafy Pondweed
None Living Marine Resources
None Marine Rooted Vascular
None Myriophyllum Spicatum
None Najas Guadalupensis
None Potamogeton Foliosus
None Potamogeton Pectinatus
None Potamogeton Perfoliatus
None Redhead Grass
None Rooted Vascular
None Ruppia Maritima
None Sago Pondweed
None SAV
None Seagrass
None Shoalgrass
None Submersed Aquatic Vegetation
None Underwater Vegetation
None Vallisneria Americana
None Widgeon Grass
None Wild Celery
None Zannichellia Palustris
None Zostera Marina

Spatial Keywords

Thesaurus Keyword
Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Location Keywords
None Albemarle Sound
None Alligator River
None Back Sound
None Barden Inlet
None Beaufort Inlet
None Cape Hatteras
None Cape Lookout
None Coastal North Carolina
None Core Sound
None Drum Inlet
None Eastern North Carolina
None Hatteras inlet
None Neuse River Estuary
None Newport River
None North Carolina
None Ocracoke Inlet
None Oregon Inlet
None Pamlico River
None Pamlico River Estuary
None Pamlico Sound Currituck Sound Neuse River
None Pasquotank River
None Perquimans River
None Pungo River
None USA

Physical Location

Organization: Office for Coastal Management
City: Charleston
State/Province: SC

Data Set Information

Data Set Scope Code: Data Set
Maintenance Frequency: As Needed
Data Presentation Form: Map (digital)
Distribution Liability:

NOAA provides no warranty, nor accepts any liability occurring from any incomplete, incorrect, or misleading data, or from any incorrect, incomplete, or misleading use of the data. It is the responsibility of the user to determine whether or not the data is suitable for the intended purpose.

Support Roles

Data Steward

CC ID: 612383
Date Effective From: 2015
Date Effective To:
Contact (Organization): NOAA Office for Coastal Management (NOAA/OCM)
Address: 2234 South Hobson Ave
Charleston, SC 29405-2413
Email Address:
Phone: (843) 740-1202


CC ID: 612385
Date Effective From: 2015
Date Effective To:
Contact (Organization): NOAA Office for Coastal Management (NOAA/OCM)
Address: 2234 South Hobson Ave
Charleston, SC 29405-2413
Email Address:
Phone: (843) 740-1202

Metadata Contact

CC ID: 612386
Date Effective From: 2015
Date Effective To:
Contact (Organization): NOAA Office for Coastal Management (NOAA/OCM)
Address: 2234 South Hobson Ave
Charleston, SC 29405-2413
Email Address:
Phone: (843) 740-1202

Point of Contact

CC ID: 612384
Date Effective From: 2015
Date Effective To:
Contact (Organization): NOAA Office for Coastal Management (NOAA/OCM)
Address: 2234 South Hobson Ave
Charleston, SC 29405-2413
Email Address:
Phone: (843) 740-1202


Currentness Reference: Ground Condition

Extent Group 1

Extent Group 1 / Geographic Area 1

CC ID: 612389
W° Bound: -77.0865
E° Bound: -75.4635
N° Bound: 36.6545
S° Bound: 34.6025

Extent Group 1 / Time Frame 1

CC ID: 612388
Time Frame Type: Range
Start: 1985
End: 1990

Spatial Information

Spatial Representation

Representations Used

Vector: Yes

Vector Representation 1

CC ID: 612375
Complex Object Present?: Yes
Complex Object Count: 86

Access Information

Security Class: Unclassified
Data Access Constraints:


Data Use Constraints:


Distribution Information

Distribution 1

CC ID: 750528
Download URL:
File Name: Bulk Download

FTP download of data files.



CC ID: 750530
Name: CMECS Home Page
URL Type:
Online Resource

Information and resources on the CMECS standard and how to apply it


CC ID: 750531
Name: CMECS Catalog
URL Type:
Online Resource

Searchable online catalog of CMECS units, descriptions, and source references


CC ID: 750532
Name: NOAA's Office for Coastal Management (OCM) Digital Coast Data section
URL Type:
Online Resource

The website provides not only coastal data, but also the tools, training, and information needed to make these data truly useful. Content comes from many sources, all of which are vetted by NOAA.


CC ID: 750533
Name: NOAA's Office for Coastal Management (OCM) website
URL Type:
Online Resource

Information on the NOAA Office for Coastal Management (OCM)


CC ID: 750534
Name: Browse Graphic
URL Type:
Browse Graphic
Browse Graphic
File Resource Format: JPEG

Sample of benthic cover data

Activity Log

Activity Log 1

CC ID: 612453
Activity Date/Time: 2017-03-30

Date that the source FGDC record was last modified.

Activity Log 2

CC ID: 612452
Activity Date/Time: 2017-11-14

Converted from FGDC CSDGM (version FGDC-STD-001-1998) using '' script. Contact Tyler Christensen (NOS) for details.

Activity Log 3

CC ID: 717906
Activity Date/Time: 2018-02-08

Partial upload of Positional Accuracy fields only.

Activity Log 4

CC ID: 750529
Activity Date/Time: 2018-04-11

Partial upload to move data access FTP links to Distribution Info and remove broken URLs.

Data Quality


Attribute accuracy for habitat polygons has not been

conducted. Field checks of all benthic signatures present

in the photographs were conducted to resolve those benthic

features that potentially could be confused with submersed

rooted vegetation. The number and locations of site visits

were based on judgment of the photointerpreter who led the

field verification phase of the surface level sampling. In

a second type of surface level work, a grid randomly placed

on a nautical chart determined the nominal latitude and

longitude of stations. These were sampled for species of

submersed rooted vegetation and ancillary environmental

information. The methodology was inappropriate for accuracy

assessment of the remotely based habitat data for three

reasons. 1) Any plants within a quarter mile radius of the

stations coordinates were sampled and indicated as positive

in the field database. Rare occurrences of small clusters of

plants would not be mapped from the photographs due to the

minimum mapping unit. 2) Navigation to stations was

accomplished with LORAN C which was spatially much less

accurate than was expected with the photographic approach.

Reference data must be a more reliable source than the data

to be evaluated. 3) Some nominal station locations were

unexpectedly deep or unsafe to approach or sample and were

arbitrarily moved to an adjacent more appropriate location.

This could have biased the spatial sampling.

Horizontal Positional Accuracy:

Horizontal positional accuracy has not been established for the data set. National Map Accuracy standards (at a

compilation scale of 1:24,000) are assumed as the

theoretical optimal accuracy of this data. Accuracy is

limited by the accuracy and temporal coincidence of base

map and interpretation of the aquatic bed data from

photographs. In the case of USGS 7.5' topographic maps, the cultural information is more contemporary (up to 10 or 15

years out of date) than the geographic information (up to

45 years out of date). NOAA shoreline and cultural data

(based on 1988 and 1991 photography) are within six years

of the aquatic bed photography. The dearth of cultural

information throughout most of the study area resulted in a dependency on geographic features for local horizontal

control of the photographic data. The aquatic bed

photographs were more consistent with contemporary NOAA

shoreline topographic map bases (from 1988 and 1991)

photography and use of these map bases presumably

increased overall accuracy of the vegetation map. Aerial

photography is registered by local horizontal control to

base maps in a zoom transfer scope. Reference features are readily identifiable and can be accurately positioned on

the photograph and on the base map. Cultural feature are

preferred and geographic features are used if necessary. The base maps are USGS 7.5' topographic series or NOAA shoreline topographic sheets.

Vertical Positional Accuracy:

The SRV data carries no vertical attributes and no

assessment or measure of vertical accuracy was conducted.

Completeness Report:

The classification scheme includes one class at the Class

level and one at the Subclass 1 level within the SCHEME

system. All SRV within the study area were delineated,

unless flagged in the data set, to a depth of approximately

10 feet lower mean low water (MLLW), deeper than aquatic

beds are known to grown in the study area. Limited parts of

the study area were not successfully photographed and

therefore data for those locations are omitted from the

coverage. The photography provides a record of only a

single time period so that ephemeral beds not present at

the time of photography are omitted. This may be the case

for some Zostera marina beds, for example, which can sprout

from seed in the late spring and die due to heat stress and

exposure in the summer. Zostera marina is a perennial grass

which over winters as rhizomes within the substrate.

Conceptual Consistency:

The classification scheme comprehensively includes all

subtidal bottom classified for the presence or absence of

submersed rooted vegetation. Void areas exceeding minimum

mapping unit were mapped within vegetation polygons and are

delineated and labeled. Overlay of the compiled and

digitized polygons of vegetation included a few instances

of overlap with dry land on the map base. This was

particularly true for data compiled on 7.5' map bases due

to the time differential between the photographic dates for

the map bases (typically 1940s for shorelines and 1970's or

1980's for cultural features) and the aquatic bed

photography (1985 to 1990) The shoreline moved in some

cases. Logical consistency in terms of topology for

vegetation polygons was confirmed in ARC/INFO and test plots

of the digitized data at the compilation scale (1:24,000)

were compared for consistency and similarity of

cartographic style with the source maps and were edited if necessary.



NOS Aerial Photograph Archive

CC ID: 612369
Contact Name: NOAA/NOS/C&CS/ Photogrammetry Branch
Publish Date: 1990-01-01
Extent Type: Range
Extent Start Date/Time: 1985
Extent End Date/Time: 1990
Scale Denominator: 24000
Source Contribution:

Source photography for SAV interpretation | Source Geospatial Form: map | Type of Source Media: Film diapositives

Process Steps

Process Step 1

CC ID: 612370

Acquisition of metric aerial photography. Conventional color aerial photography was collected in several missions between 1985 and 1990 following the protocols described in NOAA Technical Report NMFS 123. Both film diapositives and paper prints were used for the interpretation.

Process Date/Time: 1990-01-01 00:00:00

Process Step 2

CC ID: 612371

Compilation of Photographic Information. Aerial photos were interpreted and habitats delineated on acetate overlays

affixed to the film. Field information was used to guide this mapping process. The interpreted photo delineations were then

transferred to hard-copy base maps using a zoom-transfer scope to fit the polygons to a planimetric base.

Process Date/Time: 1990-01-01 00:00:00

Process Step 3

CC ID: 612372

Digitization of Compiled Photographic Interpretations.

1:24,000 scale bases were supplied to CGIA by the

NOAA/NMFS/SEFSC/Beaufort Lab. These were used to digitize

the delineated areas of SRV. All digital files were later

compiled into one digital GIS data set. Checkplots were

created for review by the Beaufort Lab and any corrections made.

Process Step 4

CC ID: 612373

The data were converted from a single ESRI polygon shapefile classified according to the System for Classifying Habitats in Estuarine and Marine Environments (SCHEME) to the Coastal and Marine Ecological Classification Standard (CMECS) 2012 format (which can be found at which produces separate geoform, geoform, and geoform feature layers from the original input benthic habitat dataset. This geoform feature layer contains CMECS geoform component attributes where an "Equal" or "Nearly Equal" SCHEME value was present in the original data. Polygons for which no geoform information was present have been removed. No other changes to the original polygon boundaries or any other alterations of the original SCHEME data were made during this process.

Process Date/Time: 2015-01-01 00:00:00

Child Items

Rubric scores updated every 15m

Rubric Score Type Title
Entity Geoform

Catalog Details

Catalog Item ID: 47911
GUID: gov.noaa.nmfs.inport:47911
Metadata Record Created By: Anne Ball
Metadata Record Created: 2017-11-14 12:57+0000
Metadata Record Last Modified By: SysAdmin InPortAdmin
Metadata Record Last Modified: 2023-05-30 18:09+0000
Metadata Record Published: 2018-04-11
Owner Org: OCM
Metadata Publication Status: Published Externally
Do Not Publish?: N
Metadata Last Review Date: 2018-04-11
Metadata Review Frequency: 1 Year
Metadata Next Review Date: 2019-04-11