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Principles for Bringing Land and Sea Data Together Mark Mackenzie and Andrew Hoggarth CARIS Fredericton,

Canada Mark.Mackenzie@caris.com and Andrew.Hoggarth@caris.com Abstract This paper will focus on issues relating to the merging of land and marine geospatial data. Much of the focus of spatial data infrastructure (SDI) creation and management has been on topographic, or land, databut there is an emerging focus on the inclusion of marine data to complete the picture at the national, regional and global level. The objective to combine land and marine data is made more difficult because of the different data standards applied in these two areas. Disparities between scale, symbology and datum cause various data integration issues when these datasets are joined. Interoperability issues related to reconciling these differences are heightened where shore-based and sea-based datasets meet in a coastal zone. By combining topographic and hydrographic datasets, land and marine data integration issues can be addressed more easily. Bringing this data together can occur either through the Web from disparate sources or through a harmonized interoperable central database. A benefit of the central database is the ability to apply a one feature one time approach which allows the integrity of each specific dataset to be maintained with the added efficiency of storing objects only once. By storing multiple representations along with the individual objects, we can ensure that the data appears as expected and can therefore be used appropriately. Successfully addressing the issues associated with merging land and sea data results in more efficient implementation of initiatives such as coastal flood visualization, disaster management and response, and/or Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM). It is envisaged that the management of other geospatial data like that used for aviation purposes could also benefit from this approach.

Introduction SDI building can be a difficult and intimidating task for the uninitiated, with both technological and organizational challenges. However, seamlessly merging land and sea data together in an SDI for projects like integrated coastal zone management adds to the challenge. This paper will concentrate on these technological challenges and suggest methodologies to merge both land elevation data and seafloor bathymetry data into a continuous elevation model or topobathy surface on which analysis and good decision-making can be performed. In addition to creating topobathy surfaces, geospatial technologies can also be used to merge land and sea map features to create new data products, such as specialized coastal zone maps. Using modern data conflation and management techniques, features can have different display characteristics associated to them thus allowing the same feature to be used in multiple thematic products. This paper will examine how CARIS production database technology can be used to achieve interoperability, with land and marine features being used to create traditional and new hybrid product offerings from the same source. The technological challenges of merging land and sea datasets can largely be addressed by todays geospatial software, but several decisions need to be made as to how the technology will be applied. Decisions about vertical datum rectification and resolution differences need to be agreed upon before the technology can accurately merge these varying datasets. Additionally, some cartographic decisions on which features to include from each dataset need to be made largely based on the end use of the dataset. Theoretical Considerations Before diving into the technological solutions to these challenges, the initial focus will be on the theoretical answers. These answers will become the basis of how todays geospatial technology is applied to the problem. Internet research reveals a lot of information on the theory of merging geospatial datasets on different datums, particularly in the area of rectifying the geoid and ellipsoid, as well as dealing with resolution differences. There is little guidance however related to determining which cartographic features to include in products required for the coastal zone. Reconciling differing Vertical Datums Vertical reference surfaces can be categorized under three general headings; tidal, geodal and ellipsoidal. Traditionally, bathymetric data has been collected and stored relative to a tidal datum and topographic data relative to a geodetic datum. The introduction of precise Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) such as GPS, GLONASS and (eventually) GALILEO, has made it possible to collect both land and sea data relative to a mathematically derived ellipse. Nautical charts are produced for safety of navigation. Bathymetric data displayed on those charts are referenced to a vertical datum where the water surface will not normally go below. This Chart Datum is usually the Lowest Astronomical Tide (LAT) or Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW). Topographic data, on the other hand, are often referenced to a local geodetic datum, approximated by Mean Sea Level (MSL), which is above LAT and MLLW. A geodetic datum is a continuous surface that varies with gravity. A chart datum is referenced to a low water determination relative to a localized area, and differs from chart to chart. In order to merge bathymetric and topographic data sets, it is necessary to consider these vertical datum discrepancies. In some cases, data sets can be adjusted by simply applying a constant offset. In other cases it is necessary to apply more complex algorithms taking into

account sea surface topography and hydrodynamic ocean models. If the difference between references is relatively small, within the vertical uncertainty of the datasets themselves, then it can be ignored. In the future, as more land and sea datasets are collected using precise GNSS the merging of datasets will be much less cumbersome. However, it will still be necessary to transform this information to physical surfaces, such as the geoid, for analysis and map/chart production. Two organizations that have developed processes for transforming between the various vertical datums are the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the United States and the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO). NOAA has developed the VDatum1 tool set to transform datasets between standard vertical datums. VDatum covers the transformation of various vertical datums in three groups: tidal, orthometric (relative to geoid) and ellipsoidal datums. This tool is limited to areas and datums which have a vertical transform model available and is largely limited to high traffic areas off the coast of the continental United States. VDatum has evolved as part of NOAAs initiative to create a framework of standards and tools in support of organizations that wish to create topobathy surfaces. The UKHO has been developing a vertical datum transformation framework called the Vertical Offshore Reference Model (VORF). This framework aims to model the relationship between Chart Datum, which is largely based on tidal levels at Lowest Astronomical Tide (LAT) and other vertical reference surfaces, such as topographic DEM. VORF incorporates various validation references, including satellite altimetry, geoidal models, tide gauge data throughout the United Kingdom, and GPS derived ellipsoidal heights and bathymetric models.2 One limitation of these vertical datum models is their current limited coverage. While each is useful for their target areas, they are regional in nature. There is no global vertical datum model or transformation standard that is accurate for use at the regional or local level. A global vertical datum model would aid in the building of a master surface, with very large sets of bathymetry surfaces for vast areas. With current enterprise database solutions and computing power, a global bathymetry surface is a reasonable expectation from a technical standpoint, but the rectification of the vertical reference will be more problematic. While rectifying between ellipse and geoid references is relatively simple with todays models and technologies, the rectification between chart datum and geoid is more of a challenge. Initially, chart datum must be first transferred to MSL and then MSL transferred to the geoid, which requires extensive oceanographic modeling and examination of local tide gauge data. It is the complexity of the process that has limited VDatum coverage to regional, largely high traffic areas. All of these factors depend on the accuracy the user is looking for, as Geoid and MSL can vary by up to 1.5 m. Vertical datum models can be applied to land and marine DEMs in specialized software like the CARIS! BDB. Horizontal Datum Models When creating a topobathy surface, if the topographic and bathymetric datasets have been referenced to different horizontal datums then it is easy to reconcile these differences through already well-defined transformation mechanisms.

Most geospatial software products include a re-projection capability, allowing users to specify the desired horizontal reference for the data and transform the dataset on the fly. This allows users to import their topographic and hydrographic datasets into their desired toolset and then pick a common horizontal reference for the two datasets. One of the more common horizontal reference systems is the World Geodetic System, 1984 (WGS84), which is used as the reference coordinate system for GPS data collection. Resolution Differences The resolution and data collection method for land and sea datasets differs between disciplines. Land elevation data typically originates from the digitization of elevations from stereo aerial photographs or from airborne terrestrial LiDAR measurements. Hydrographic data is often derived from sonar measurements or bathymetric LiDAR. Modern sonar systems are capable of collecting very high-resolution data; higher than is usually digitized or collected by LiDAR. The differences in resolution present a challenge when combining datasets from these various sources. Ideally, the best resolution data available from the land and the sea areas would be fused together, with decimation to coarser resolution levels being appropriate when performing more regional analysis. While it is less of an issue with topobathy surfaces, resolution differences are an important consideration when dealing with vector map or chart features. Combining vector datasets which were compiled at various scales requires careful consideration, as features are represented differently with varying degrees of generalization. If vector features are derived from a topobathy surface that has been derived from high resolution elevation and bathymetry data, then the resolution of the resultant features would also be high. Feature Determination The fusion of land and sea datasets also presents other cartographic challenges. Whilst contours, sounding and spot heights can be derived from the seamless DEM, other features need to be selected for inclusion from existing maps or charts. This merger of features requires a decision about which features best represent certain aspects of the littoral zone. For example, topographic maps provide feature rich detail of the land areas but a low level of information about the sea areas. Navigational charts provide a great deal of information about the sea areas but have fairly limited detail of the land areas. Both products would contain a coastline but often this would have been defined by different means and potentially represent a different water level. Features, like landmarks, exist on both maps and chartstherefore when building a specialized combined product from existing source data, a decision needs to be made about which landmarks to keep and also how they should be cartographically portrayed to provide the appropriate information. If a data centric geospatial database, similar to CARIS HPD, is used to store the data, then features on the land or the sea can be used for multiple purposes. For example a coastal zone stakeholder may not be interested in safety of navigation issues for shipping, but they can utilize nautical chart information to create enhanced products that relate to their direct need. The presentation of a shoaling rock on a chart, could also be used to represent the location of an important seabird colony on an environmental product. The rock would still exist as the source feature, but its representation could change depending on the product. Coastline Delineation

When using map or chart data as a source for the coastline on a specialized product, a decision needs to be made on whether to use the coastline of the map (biased high) or the coastline of the chart (biased low). If a seamless DEM has been created, then effectively the coastline can be defined as the contour boundary between positive and negative elevations. Although using this zero value as a coastline delineator can be dangerous as often the intertidal area is poorly defined. With any coastline delineation, the end use of the coastline must be identified, as different usages determine the approach required. For example, a legal boundary is often based on the high water mark, while a chart coastline should be based on low water, as it could be used for safe navigation. Whether using existing map or chart data, or a topobathy surface to delineate the coastline, it is important to carry accurate metadata with the feature or dataset. This should include details about the coordinate reference information and should facilitate future vertical adjustments or extractions. Technological Methods The challenge of bringing land and sea datasets together has resulted in the creation of specialized GIS software that allows users to merge these datasets in an intelligent, harmonized and accurate way. Enterprise geospatial technologies, which utilize object-orientated architecture, make it possible to combine all manner of thematic sources in a single source database or data warehouse. Computing power, innovative methods for handling very large and dense datasets (such as the CARIS CSAR Framework3), and modern sensor capabilities coupled with more efficient data collection methods have resulted in an increased use of high-resolution datasets as a source for decision-making and product creation. Terabytes of elevation measurements can now be managed and manipulated easily and efficiently. These factors make the production of highresolution topobathy surfaces possible. Resolving Vertical Datum Differences As discussed earlier, the resolution of differing vertical datums between land and sea datasets is best accomplished by the application of vertical datum models, such as those used in VDatum or VORF. References needed for the creation of a vertical datum model include reference height data from tidal gauges, GPS reference heights and similar elevation references. It may also make sense to store seamless DEMs in reference to the ellipsoid as opposed to a tidal datum. This would facilitate any subsequent vertical transformations that may be required when creating specialized products. This also ties in with the modern practice of hydrographic surveying in reference to the ellipsoid, which has been made possible due to the availability of precise GNSS. 4 The downside of this approach is that the elevation values are heights or depths above the ellipsoid, which does not provide immediate context when browsing visually the DEMs. Merging DEMs Positive and Negative Together Bathymetric measurements on a nautical chart are usually collected as positive elevations, and subsequently, soundings that have negative values are considered to be drying heights or points above the chart datum. Spot heights on a topographic map are also considered as positive elevations and points below sea level are considered to be negative. If software is to

be used to combine land and sea datasets together then decisions need to made about what constitutes a positive and/or negative elevation and datasets may need to be manipulated on import to resolve signage conflicts. Software also needs to allow bathymetry data and topographic data to co-exist rather than assuming it all to be bathymetry or all elevations above sea level. This has been a drawback of many of the mapping systems on the market. Case Study: Merging Land and Sea DEMs in Musquash Harbour, New Brunswick To better illustrate some of the issues and approaches presented in this paper, the following section will highlight the steps taken to create a topobathy DEM for a coastal region. The area of interest was Musquash Harbour, located on the Bay of Fundy in the province of New Brunswick, Canada. The area has some of the largest tidal fluctuations on earth. The goal of the project was to create a seamless seafloor to mountain top DEM for the area, with a view to deriving a continuous set of vector contours. The data used was acquired from two separate sources. The bathymetry data of Musquash Bay and the entrance of Musquash River were obtained from the Ocean Mapping Group of the University of New Brunswick as part of their Project on the Saint John Harbour approaches.5 The bathymetry obtained was an ASCII 'Long Lat Depth' file at a10-metre resolution. The land data was orthometric spot height data with an average distance between heights of around 70 metres. The data came from the New Brunswick provincial government, through the Service New Brunswick agency. 6 The software used to complete this project was CARIS BDB. In order to get a sense of our area of interest, several background, or framework, datasets are used to set the coverage area. Orthophotos and topographic line files were used to visualize the Musquash Bay and surrounding area. The lines representing the coastline are identified and separated from the other files and used to create a boundary file to be used as a coverage area and breakline in the TIN surface creation process later in the process. Step one was to import the raw bathymetry and spot height data and create TIN surfaces from each. CARIS BDB provides an import wizard, which allows users to import any of a variety of elevation data types, including XYZ text files, ASCII files, or CSAR Framework point clouds.

Fig 1.1: 70m Land elevation data and 10m bathymetry data imported Once the two raw point datasets were imported, it was clear that the datasets were referenced to different vertical datums, and would have to be rectified to a common vertical datum. The bathymetry used is referenced to Chart Datum (LAT) and the spot height data is referenced to the local geodetic datum (~MSL). The average tidal change for this area of the Bay of Fundy is 8 meters. Thus the bathymetric dataset was shifted -8 metres, or 8 metres up, using the surface shift tool in CARIS BDB. This shift is somewhat arbitrary, and will introduce some error into the topobathy surface, but for this proof of concept was deemed acceptable. This shift covers the entire chart datum to geodetic datum transformation process. Once the vertical datum shift has been addressed, surfaces can be derived from the raw data and merged into a seamless coverage. The first step was to create TIN models for each dataset, which will become the basis for the DEM surfaces. In order to set the boundaries of the individual surfaces, the breakline and coverage area files derived from the topographic line data will be used. The coverage area cuts the land TIN and is used to control the limits of the TIN model based on physical boundaries such as coastlines, islands, or other physical structures. A breakline is used to insert known elevations/depths into the TIN. Breakline objects can be either line or area objects. For example, a breakline could be digitized along a portion of a coastline, with the depth attribute set to zero metres, located where it is feasible to have the model extend fully to

the shoreline. Once applied to the TIN, the model would include the vertices of the breakline, and the value of their depth attribute, extending the coverage of the TIN to the shoreline. This is an important step in building a complete shore-to-shore model when the bathymetry data does not extend all the way to the shoreline.

Fig 2 Land TIN model before coverage area applied

Fig 2.1 Land TIN Model after coverage feature applied

Once the TIN models are derived and the breakline and coverage areas are applied, DEM surfaces can be built for each dataset. At this point the resolution difference between the land dataset (70m) and the bathymetry data (10m) can be addressed. CARIS BDB allows users to set the desired resolution of their surface, so the 70m data was used to interpolate a 10m surface on land, to match the bathymetry resolution. While this makes for a less certain TIN model, it does allow for aesthetically better contours to be derived

Fig 3 Separate land and sea DEMs interpolated to 10m resolution. At this point the two surfaces have been created at the same resolution, and referenced to a common vertical datum; so they are ready to be combined using the combine surfaces function within CARIS BDB. In order to combine the surfaces, they need to be deconflicted to determine which surface is given priority in overlapping areas.

Fig 4 Surface combined to create a 10m topobathy surface.

Fig 5 10m topobathy surface viewed in 3D. The topobathy surface allows users to create seamless features across the coastal zone area and perform analysis across the coastal zone with a common reference surface. To illustrate this point, contours were derived from the DEM across the entire coastal zone area.

5m Interval contours and depth areas derived from the topobathy surface.

This case study illustrates how easy it can be with todays geospatial software to create a topobathy surface, but it also illustrates the challenges of applying a vertical datum shift and the errors that can be introduced. While a topobathy surface was created, and seamless coastal zone features derived from that surface, the accuracy and usefulness of the features was limited by the resolution and accuracy of the input data and the accuracy of the vertical datum shift. Ideally, bathymetry data would be combined with higher resolution elevation data (such as LIDAR) and a vertical datum model would be applied, taking into account various reference data (such as tidal gauge data). But in a practical sense, ideal data sources are not always available

and compromises must be made. The key is to document the compromises and attempt to use the best available data. By fusing the best possible data from the land and sea in the coastal zone, stakeholders and planners can make informed decisions and have the benefit of deriving new features that lie across the combined surface. In the case study, this translated into a set of contours from sea floor to mountain top. This topobathy surface could also be used to create inundation models, shoreline erosion analysis, or wetland habitat mapping. Features and Representations With its production database technology, CARIS has adopted a data centric approach to managing geospatial data and creating products such as maps and charts. By storing multiple representations of the same database featurea technique that CARIS describes as one feature one timevarious thematic datasets can co-exist without the need for storing duplicate information. This can be illustrated by the example of a lighthouse. For the user of a topographic map the lighthouse is a landmark; for a mariner, it is a navigation aid; for the town planner it is a building; for an aviator, it is a hazard; and for a military user, it could be considered a target. The CARIS approach to data management allows for the single lighthouse object to be stored in the source database along with different representations so that the lighthouse can be properly portrayed for the purpose of the end product. The images below show the differences between aeronautical, hydrographic and topographic products. All these products could be derived from the same source.

In order to take advantage of the efficiencies that a data centric approach to data management and product creation can provide, a flexible and comprehensive data model is required. The data model facilitates the storage of all the geospatial features in the database and how features interact. Data dictionaries describing features and their attributes need to be created; ideally these data dictionaries should conform to international standards and can be a combination of several thematic dictionaries to allow as many data types to reside together as possible. All the features in the data dictionary will require symbols, line patterns or area fills associating with them, depending on the geographic object type (point, line, area etc). The symbols used could also change dependant on the type of product that this being produced by the system. Using a data centric model allows source objects to exist with an endless variety of representations, thus allowing the source data to be leveraged to create an endless variety of data products. As more source data are incorporatedsuch as hydrographic, topographic,

aeronautical, cadastral, environmental, or biological datamore better quality data products can be produced.

A Data Centric Source Database can Facilitate Multiple Products

The merger of topographic and hydrographic data into a single database allows specialized products to be developed that contain a combination of relevant topographic and hydrographic features (e.g. products for coastal management). This would be in addition to the standard ability to create topographic map sheets or internationally recognized nautical charts from the same production database. Conclusions The movement in the spatial community towards Spatial Database Infrastructures (SDI) has largely been focused on the land data. This is changing partly because the management of the coastal zone has become more urgent in the light of rising sea levels. Decision makers are realizing that a clear picture of the coastal zone must include a combination of land and marine datasets. Recent terms of reference from the International Hydrographic Office (IHO) Marine Spatial Data Infrastructure Working Group (MSDIWG) states, There is a need to identify and recommend solutions to technical issues related to interoperability between land and sea data, e.g. datum issues.7 The combination of existing map and chart data can provide a source of information for new coastal zone products. When it comes to analysis and modeling, the creation of a seamless DEM from mountain top to sea floor is seen as essential. If high-resolution height data, such as LiDAR, can be merged with high-resolution bathymetry from sonar systems, and the zone between the two is populated with data, then robust analysis is possible.

The major challenge in combining land and sea data is the determination of a common vertical datum reference, as land and sea datasets are traditionally referenced to different vertical datums. Several organizations are attempting to meet this challenge by standardizing on local or regional vertical datum models, but these models only cover small areas of the global coastal zones. An alternative approach may be to store datasets in an ellipsoidal reference, and then allow users to transform data to the vertical datum of their choice. Data centric software solutions can provide a mechanism for storing land and sea features in a single database, and can therefore facilitate the production of coastal zone maps that incorporate the relevant topographic and hydrographic features. The ability to create a topobathy DEM provides the ability to create continuous contours across the coastal zone, contours that can reside in a data centric database. The seamless DEMs can also serve as the basis for subsequent analysis relating to tsunami impact or coastal erosion. The technological functions are available to merge land and sea datasets, but before doing so questions surrounding coordinate reference systems, and in particular the vertical reference, need to be addressed to ensure that the topobathy DEMs are created in a useful way.

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NOAA Vertical Datum Transformation, http://vdatum.noaa.gov Adams, Ruth; Iliffe, Jonathan; Ziebart, Marek; Turner, Jim; Oliveira, Joao; Joining Up Land and Sea: UKHO/UCL Vertical Offshore Reference Frame; Hydro International, 18/05/2009, http://www.hydrointernational.com/issues/articles/id696-Joining_Up_Land_and_Sea.html 3 Masry, Mark: Collins, Corey; Scaling Bathymetry: Data Handling for Large Volumes; Shallow Survey 2008 conference; http://www.shallowsurvey2008.org/images/stories/abstracts/28_masry_data_handling_for_large.pdf 4 Canter, Peter; Lalumiere, Louis; Hydrographic Surveying on the Ellipsoid with Inertially-Aided RTK; US Hydro 2009, http://www.thsoa.org/hy05/06_1.pdf
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UNB Ocean Mapping Group, http://www.omg.unb.ca/omg/ Service New Brunswick Geographic Data & Maps; http://www.snb.ca/gdam-igec/e/2900e_1.asp 7 IHO MSDIWG 2nd Meeting Terms of Reference, Sept. 10-11, 2008, Monaco, http://www.ihoohi.net/mtg_docs/com_wg/MSDIWG/MSDIWG2/MSDIWG2.htm