A GIScience framework for sustainable development, tourism and management of coastal barrier islands in Georgia
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This research considered a variety of scientific approaches in Geographic Information Science (GIScience) that can be used to provide geospatial input to reliable decision making systems for sustainable development and preservation planning. Theoretical aspects of GIScience including conceptualizations, modeling, spatio-temporal representations, and spatial analysis were combined with emerging geospatial technologies such as Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), very high resolution (VHR), and image fusion in Remote Sensing and Web-based geographic information systems (GIS) services. These methods were used to provide criteria and scientific findings that can be used to create master plans for coastal development and conservation. Questions considered in this dissertation are: (1) How should coastal barrier islands be demarcated and assessed for polices limiting the percentage of development?; ( 2) Can the availability of sandy beaches be estimated and predicted for tourism recreational purposes while regarding criteria of cultural and natural resource preservation?; (3) How effective are revetment rocks as a protector of the mainland from physical processes of erosion, accretion and wave action and what geospatial tools can be used to monitor coastal shorelines?; and (4) What image processing techniques produce optimal VHR satellite images identifying land use land cover (LULC) in coastal environments? With respect to these considerations, this dissertation aimed to geospatially demarcate the land and ocean boundary of Jekyll Island State Park off the coast of Georgia, USA based on different tide level assumptions used by state and federal agencies. Results quantified differences in island size up to 7.2 % depending on jurisdictional sea levels and different back-barrier marshland and ocean-front shoreline elevations in Chapter 2. Beach availability was geospatially assessed for recreational tourism management and vulnerability of shoreline integrity in revetment rock areas in Chapter 3. Finally optimum pansharpening techniques were evaluated using VHR satellite imagery for best geospatial data to identify features in dynamic coastal zones in Chapter 4. These findings will allow coastal managers, residents, and tourists to make appropriate decisions for sustainable development and preservation of coastal barrier islands.