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Marine Substrates, Northern Gulf of Mexico
A new data coverage for the Northern Gulf of Mexico has been built in a collaboration between the Gulf States Marine Fisheries Commission (GSMFC), INSTAAR of the University of Colorado, PIES of the University of New Orleans, the US Geological Survey (USGS), and many donors of data. This web page provides an index to the VirtualGlobe, GIS and Metadata resources of that coverage.

For the most part, standard methods of dbSEABED integration were used (INSTAAR 2007a), applied to samplings and direct observations of the seabed materials: the sediments and the skeletonized biota. Detailed explanation of the gridding techniques is available at INSTAAR (2007b).

However, a primary program goal was to map hard substrate occurrences with a view to protection of certain fish stocks (e.g., NOAA 2007). Geophysical datasets were therefore also brought into play, and new methods of dealing with polygon, polyline, grid data imports were devised. An important factor is that geophysical mappings with sidescan, multibeam and seismic technologies view the seabed on much larger scales than samplings.

The outputs are presented in several formats, each with documentation. The compilation will eventually be added to the USGS project usSEABED (USGS  2007).




Yellow: Public release     Blue: Not for public release yet; apply to GSMFC for research use.
ZD: Drag-extract from zip is OK.        ZE: Extract zip to a folder, then tell GIS where to locate the themes.
Data group
Filenames and details
Virtual Globe
Google Earth (KML) binned data display.
Google Earth and other virtual globes.
[index.html at the URL]
Geographic Information System (GIS) Grid Coverages
These grids display the distribution of rock exposure,
and sediment gravel, sand and mud contents.
ArcGIS 9.x project (*.mxd, *.aux, etc.) gsm_gd_mxd.zip; 845KB. ZE

ArcGIS 9.x layer files (*.lyr) gsm_gd_lyr.zip; 14KB ZD

ArcView 3.x ASCII grids (*.asc) gsm_gd_ascii_Sp07.zip; 6.4MB, ZD

ArcView 3.x BINARY grids
*.apr, *adf, *.dat, *.nit, *.001, log, info\ filesets; 3.5MB, ZE

gsm_gd_met.txt; 9.5KB
Geographic Information System (GIS) Point Coverages
The points show the input data in great detail.

Text files
gsm_wwd, gsm_cmp, gsm_srt; 43.5MB, ZD 

Shapefiles linked in an AV 3.x project
gsm_wwd, gsm_cmp, gsm_srt; 109MB, ZE

gsm_pt_met.txt; 19KB
Geographic Information System (GIS) Polygon Datasets
Polygons are coarse approximations of the distribution of the
substrate types, but are useful in some GIS applications.
They are the most similar data format to previous substrates
mappings such as Sheridan and Caldwell (2002).

ArcView 3.x polygon shapefiles, graphics, and legends, some third-party in origin.

gsmfc_py_shp_Aug07.zip; 15Mb, ZD
Geographic Information System (GIS) Coastlines
Combined Shapefile set for US State Outlines (USGS ) and Mexico and Cuba Outlines (ESRI).

Third party GIS coverages. See original sources for public supply.

gmf_land_shp_Aug07.zip; 76MB, ZE
Geographic Information System (GIS) Legends
These provide the classification and coloration of the data on a map.

Legends for ArcView3,x and ArcGIS9.x . They will be extended / updated over time.

In separate page listings (*.avl, *.lyr)
the zipfile dbSBD_Legends_Sep07.zip, 149KB, ZE
Project report
Description of project goals, methods, and outcomes.

Apply to GSMFC for a copy.

GMX_Substrates_v3.5.pdf; 3.2MB
Technical documentation
Specific to this project.

A collection of hints on how to make GIS and Database products. 

*.htm, 6KB
Output data definitions
Formal definitions document
*.pdf, 257KB

  • INSTAAR, 2007. dbSEABED: An Information Processing System for Marine Substrates. [URL: "http://instaar.colorado.edu/~jenkinsc/dbseabed/"]
  • INSTAAR, 2007. Grid Interpolation of Seabed Data. [URL: "http://instaar.colorado.edu/~jenkinsc/resources/interp"]
  • NOAA, 2007. FishWatch: US Seafood facts. Red Grouper (Epinephelus morio). [URL: "http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/fishwatch/species/red_grouper.htm"].
  • USGS, 2007. usSEABED: Coastal & Marine Geology Program. [URL: "http://walrus.wr.usgs.gov/usseabed/"].
  • Sheridan, P. and Caldwell, P., 2002, Compilation of data sets relevant to the identification of Essential Fish Habitat on the Gulf of Mexico continental shelf and for the estimation of the effects of shrimp trawling gear on habitat: NOAA Technical Memorandum, NMFS-SEFSC-483, 60 p.

Author: Chris Jenkins
Date: 14 Sep 2007
Location: Boulder