The NSW coastline is one of our state's greatest assets. Beautiful beaches, dunes, estuaries, lakes, lagoons and wetlands attract tourists, support various industries and provide recreation for everyone. However, our coastline is under constant attack from natural forces, and is therefore dynamic and ever–changing. Beaches erode in response to storms, sand dunes migrate inland in response to strong winds, and many sections of the coast are receding due to long-term coastal processes.

Coastal processes and their long-term impact on our coastline are an area of ongoing study and research.

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An estuary is a meeting place. It is the name given to the lower reaches of a creek, river or lake where freshwater meets saltwater. It is an environment where water from upstream catchment areas meets the salty ocean tide, providing a variety of aquatic and terrestrial habitats that support many plants and animals. The protected coastal waters of estuaries also support a wide range of important social and economic activities.

Geographically comprehensive and long term scientific information on estuarine environments is needed to accurately assess the condition of our estuaries, and to develop and evaluate management strategies for the future.

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Understanding coastal processes requires good information on the physical shape of the coastal environments. Hydrographic survey provides the depth and physical characteristics of the estuary. The information can be used for planning and to detect changes in the physical environment.

A large collection of historical hydrographic charts and newer airborne laser survey data provide an insight into the shape of our coast and estuaries.

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About the NSW Coastal Explorer. Open government.

The aim of the Coastal Explorer is to unlock historic documents and to allow community access to these resources. By using the map we hope that discovery and exploration will become a more intuitive and simple exercise, removing barriers to public information.

Here you will find publications that include reports, management plans and studies, all made available through our map.

How we did it. Emerging technology.

By using new and innovative technology we are able to deliver historic paper based reports to the greater community. All documents have been digitised and then transformed as reference maps. Using natural language processing we are able to discover references to places, enriching previously unstructured text within a spatial context. Using our existing spatial datasets, we have created a gazetteer based on beaches, estuaries and elevations. We use this gazetteer to deliver disambiguated place references to our document reference maps.

Ongoing concern. Our plan.

The documents currently delivered on the Coastal Explorer are the tip of the iceberg. We will continue our effort to process historic documents and make them available. Upcoming documents will include...

Accessibility. This information is for everyone..

We understand that not everyone in our community can get to the documents using a map. So we have provided a full list of the documents held on this site.