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Great Lakes Coastal Photos and Conservation Information Now Available for Entire Upper Peninsula Shoreline

Originally conceived as a land-use decision tool for local municipalities, township and counties, the Shoreviewer is already being used for a wide variety of applications including regional tourism campaigns, habitat protection efforts and planning kayak trips.

Carl Lindquist, Executive Director of the SWP explained, “We developed the Shoreviewer to provide a wealth of important information about our Great Lakes coastlines…it just happens to start with stunning color photography. Now we’re happy to see it has so many other applications including nature tourism and sustainable economic development.” Marquette City Manager Bill Vajda values the Shoreviewer as a unique community planning tool.

“The Shoreviewer is a powerful tool for Marquette’s sustainability and environmental management programs, said Vajda. “The city’s Community Development Department uses its easy-to-access information to make informed decisions about Marquette’s most important asset; the beautiful Lake Superior shoreline.”

The Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative (GLSLCI) has also recognized the many practical applications of the Shoreviewer.

“The UP Shoreviewer is a valuable tool for Great Lakes cities” said David Ullrich, GLSLCI Executive Director. “The bird’s eye view of the coastal terrain can be very helpful to planners, law enforcement personnel, rescue squads, harbor masters and many others.”

The tourism and economic benefits of the Shoreviewer have been put to use by Northern Initiatives (NI), a regional sustainable economic development non-profit organization.
“The Upper Peninsula Shoreviewer allows visitors to explore our vast and varied shorelines online and to use it as a planning tool for nature based experiences.” said Christine Rector, NI Program Director. “NI has linked the Shoreviewer to our Great Lakes nature tourism programs.”
The Shoreviewer includes color, digital, oblique-angle, GPS-referenced photographs that can be easily accessed via the Internet at The tool also includes a set of downloadable GIS maps for each photo location. These maps include wetlands, soils, slope, coastal dunes, topography, true color photography and color infrared photography.

The photography provides excellent documentation for land-use changes and other environmental impacts or improvements.

SWP is currently planning the next generation of Shoreviewer, focused on providing even more information. Much information will continue to be provided free of charge, while some will be made available through smart phone applications, and additional data will be available through a subscription service.

This next generation is being prepared with the goal to provide easily accessible very high resolution imaging that can be useful for planning, policy formation, regulatory compliance and conservation decision-making. It will be useful to engineers, planners, land managers and landowners in the design and management of projects that routinely occur along the shorelines of all of the Great Lakes. The next generation is focused on imaging all US Great Lake shorelines.

Funding for the Shoreviewer was provided through the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality Coastal Management Program and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The SWP partnered with Applied Ecological Services (AES) to fly and photograph the entire Upper Peninsula Great Lakes coastline including Lake Superior (612 miles), Lake Michigan (438 miles) and Lake Huron (431 miles). These flights also included many large Great Lakes islands.

For more information, please contact the Superior Watershed Partnership (

Carl Lindquist
Superior Watershed Partnership


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