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Inlets Online: An Information Management System for Obtaining Aerial Photography and Analysis Procedures for Evaluating Sediment Transport Patterns and Geomorphic Change at Entrances

Inlets Online is a web-based information and analysis resource on tidal inlets and adjacent beaches, Great Lake entrances, navigation channels, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Operation & Maintenance activities at these sites. Applied Coastal developed this information management system for the USACE Coastal Inlets Research Program (CIRP) to provide technical guidance for non-specialists and to serve as an information center for specialists in the areas of coastal engineering, coastal geology, oceanography, and coastal zone management. Presently, the web site includes technical documentation related to aerial photographic interpretation, historical information on federally maintained inlets, and examples of features interpreted from photographs. Inlets Online also includes a database of historical aerial photography for federally maintained inlets. All of the information presented in this CHETN may be accessed at Inlets Online

Various coastal features (natural and engineered) can be interpreted from near-vertical aerial photography. Most coastal projects developed by the USACE rely on data interpreted from aerial photography as a relatively low-cost means of compiling synoptic information for qualitative and quantitative assessment of coastal process dynamics. These data often are integrated with other historical data sets (waves, currents, meteorological data, coastal structure parameters, beach replenishment events, dredging, etc.) as a means of developing remedial solutions to defined problems. As such, aerial photography and the interpretation methods used for compiling coastal feature information form the foundation of Inlets Online.

A primary component of Inlets Online is a reference database of aerial photography and historical information. The database documents all the 159 federally maintained inlets that are under the charges of eight USACE Divisions. Users can retrieve inlet information by clicking on a site location map or searching the database by Division and District names. The retrieved information includes a general topographic site map; a brief description of construction and rehabilitation history, including dredging records, where available; a Corps project report from the Repair, Evaluation, Maintenance, and Rehabilitation (REMR) program; a link to the District web site; and a sorted list of historical aerial photography with thumbnails. The user can browse to view the enlarged photograph, read a description of the image, and download the original high-resolution scanned aerial photograph (300 to 400 dpi at 9?x 9? original size) as a zipped JPG file. In addition, USACE?s in-house coastal process prediction tools, such as those currently under the CIMP (Coastal Inlets Management Program), have been embedded into Inlets Online as add-on components.

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