Just last night I read an editorial that suggested that GIS had stepped into the role that surveyors cover in recent years. “GIS professionals started edging into areas that had previously been relegated to professional surveyors.” (POB Editorial, July 2009)
Today I read an opinion piece in the Olympian (Olympia, Washington) about how state officials in cooperation with a private seafood company are using GIS to help determine where surveys of the coastal shelf are needed to determine where state tidelands lie. There have been disputes about growing shellfish in those areas without a permit; that’s not allowed.
To prevent future conflict (one company is already involved in a second round of accusations) state Lands Commissioner Peter Goldmark has planned an inventory of the tidelands.
Taylor [Shellfish] has agreed to pay for a survey to determine the actual boundaries of the area in question.
“Modern GIS (geographical information system) mapping tools have made this easier, and in cooperation with DNR we’re using them to identify other tidelands areas we farm which may need survey verification,” said Bill Taylor.
It’s time to resolve these and other potential disputes.
Under Goldmark’s order to survey all state-owned tidelands, the state agency will compare its own GIS information with that compiled by shellfish companies and state and federal agencies to identify areas in Puget Sound where trespasses are most likely.
Where potential conflicts exist, DNR will then conduct on-the-ground inspection, taking advantage of the extra low tides and long daylight hours of summer. The agency hopes to complete the inventory this summer.