Reserve staff use GIS (Geographic Information System) technology to map the locations of natural resources, plan for public access (camp sites, trails, protected areas), and educate the community about coastal processes and change events.
Story-mapping is a cool new way of using technology to see geographical changes over time. Follow the links below to see story maps depicting shoreline changes in the reserve. The images tell a powerful story.
Seventy Years of Island Dynamics
Research Projects and Public Access Sites
The research department has developed an interactive, web-based map application that shows the large number of science projects taking place within its boundaries. Dots on the map reference more than 570 study sites for research and monitoring programs that have been, or are currently being conducted by visiting scientists and reserve staff. Search criteria on the app include project type (staff or visiting scientist), research and monitoring categories ranging from bats to weather, as well as the project status. When a point is clicked a pop-up window explains the goals of the project, names the principal investigator and their affiliation, and shows photos if available. Dots also represent the public access sites including boat launches, walking trails and paddle trail.
The Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is 110,000 acres. Mapping all of the upland and benthic habitats presents many challenges due to the remoteness of these areas and the turbid water conditions. The habitat map is not perfect and is a work in progress! The interactive map allows users to view and search the various habitats in the Rookery Bay Reserve area. Users can also print and share maps of their areas of interest.
Below please find links to some of our shape files available for you to download:
Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve boundary
Rookery Bay Aquatic Preserve boundary
Cape Romano – Ten Thousand Islands Aquatic Preserve boundary
Additional Spatial Data and Tools
Helpful links for additional shapefile downloads can be found here: