Coastal imagery for Connecticut

Recently, imagery available at the Map and Geographic Information Center (MAGIC) here at UConn has been used to map and understand shoreline change in Connecticut. Many different series of historical aerial photographs are available on the MAGIC website, in addition to infrared coastal photography which allows for an easier visual comparison between water and land. View our various indexes here: and an introduction to the imagery by Michael Howser here.


1934 aerial photograph – Bluff Point State Park, Groton


1995 aerial photograph – Bluff Point State Park, Groton











Back in May, WFSB, a local news station, ran a story on Joel Stocker at UConn’s CLEAR (Center for Land Use Education and Research). Stocker & CLEAR are using some of MAGIC’s imagery as well as historic maps to look at shoreline change in Connecticut from as recently as hurricane Sandy all the way back to the 1800s.

Last week, “A MAGICal look at the shore,” an article written by Suzanne Zack in Wrack Lines, the official magazine of the Connecticut Sea Grant program, discussed how using MAGIC’s imagery can inform planning and management decisions by tracking changes in the past.

Another excellent resource in looking at coastline change is NOAA’s Digital Coast, which offers free LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data that can be downloaded and processed. Pre- and post-Sandy LiDAR datasets are available in LAZ format, the zipped standard for LAS files. LAZ files can be unzipped using LASzip. The LASzip website also allows you to batch download LiDAR files available via Digital Coast, as well as other states like Alaska, Minnesota, Virginia, and others. If you’re interested, here are some basics about LiDAR from ESRI.


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