The Chesapeake Bay, situated along the east coast of the United States, in part because it has long been a focus for environmental restoration, is also a rich source of geospatial data. One primary source is the Virginia Institute on Marine Science, which maintains a Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) resource. It also includes an interactive GIS map. The SAV maps and vegetation data contain information dating all the way back to 1971.
The reasons why VIMS maps the SAV is because this vegetation is one of the best barometers of the water quality; its beds filter polluted runoff, provide food for waterfowl, and provide habitat for blue crabs, juvenile rockfish (striped bass), and other aquatic species; the beds are associated with clear water, and their presence helps improve water quality. Even if you are not interested in analyzing the vegetation per se, the site is an excellent resource for data and imagery on the Chesapeake Bay.
Some of my other recommended data sites in the region include the Chesapeake Bay Data Hub, the Maryland Open Map portal, (which we reviewed here), the Susquehanna River Basin Commission, Virginia’s open data portal, other Virginia portals, and the USGS’ Chesapeake Bay’s site. Try these resources and we look forward to your comments below.