Southeastern Section - 66th Annual Meeting - 2017

Paper No. 3-7
Presentation Time: 10:40 AM


MARTIN, Anthony J.1, PAGE, Michael1, BRANSFORD, Stephen2, SALINAS, Anandi2 and TULLOS, Allen2, (1)Department of Environmental Sciences, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322, (2)Center for Digital Scholarship, Emory University, Atlanta, GA 30322,

The Georgia Coast Atlas, which reflects a partnership between the Department of Environmental Sciences, Department of History, and the Center for Digital Scholarship at Emory University, is a digital scholarship project that attempts to redefine the concept of a traditional atlas. The main goal of this public scholarship project is to create a comprehensive online source of information about the entire Georgia coastline, with emphasis on its barrier islands. Instead of paper maps, text, and other static media, the project uses digital methods to interactively explore geological, ecological, and geographic dimensions of the Georgia coast.

Through this atlas, we combine these media with scholarly content to produce a website that should serve educators, conservationists, students (K-12 and college), and the general public. The project will eventually provide a publicly available digital atlas that educates on the Georgia coast through the following methods: annotated panoramas of coastal environments taken by aerial drones, using 360° virtual reality; gigapans of aerial and on-site sites; historical and contemporary aerial and ground-based photography; historical and contemporary dynamic map content; time-lapse videos of coastal processes (such as tidal movements); informational videos; and online scholarly articles describing the natural and human history of the Georgia coast. We developed a prototype for the project focusing on Sapelo Island, a composite Pleistocene-Holocene barrier island with a rich geological, ecological, and human history. This prototype will then be applied as a template for exploring other Georgia barrier islands and back-barrier mainland environments.

Because the content is digital, we can continually update the atlas to reflect new information or insights. For instance, the long-term effects of climate change, the recent impact of Hurricane Matthew, and plans for proposed coastal development all represent dynamic content, while also demonstrating a need for educating more people about the Georgia coast and its environments. Lastly, parts of the atlas will be incorporated into an upper-level undergraduate course on barrier islands, with expectations it will improve students’ understanding of geological and ecological processes in these coastal environments.