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Sep 20, 2005

U.S. Agencies Team Up To Map Damage To Barrier Islands

USGS, NASA and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have teamed up to utilize airborne laser mapping systems to chart changes to the gulf coast brought about by Hurricane Katrina. Elevation data from before and after the hurricane are compared to determine the patterns and magnitudes of coastal change. Such changes include erosion and destruction of buildings and other structures. Three lidar surveys were collected using two different systems to map the devastation.

One area where the impact of the hurricane is most clearly visible is on Dauphin Island, a barrier island located about 90 miles from where the eye of the storm hit land. The storm surge covered the island and waves transported sand landward, leaving fan-shaped deposits. The entire island was moved landward, destroying numerous houses. NASA has created an animation of the storm's effect on Dauphin Island that can be seen at: