Lazio Region: supporting coastal zone management with geo-information services

The Regional Directorate for Water Resources and Land Protection

Lazio is an Italian region located in the centre of the country. Its capital is Rome. The Regional Directorate for Water Resource and Land Protection through the Coastal Protection Area is in charge of coordinating and implementing coastal zone protection and management. Among other tasks, the Coastal Protection Area ensures the monitoring of coastal zones.

Within the Directorate, the Monitoring Centre for Integrated Coastal Zone Management (CM-GIZM) collects data on many coastal parameters such as shoreline evolution or land uses.

The challenge

Lazio’s coastline is about 315 km long. It is characterised by a varied morphology and by intense human activity. The area is thus particularly vulnerable to floods, beach erosion and climate change.

Through the Monitoring Centre for Integrated Coastal Zone Management (CM-GIZC), the Lazio Region is in charge of monitoring and managing coastal adaptation to climate change in line with national and EU legislations (e.g. the Inspire Directive). It is particularly active for the implementation of new methodologies and tools for elaboration of Mediterranean coastal vulnerability maps. These tools are also shared within different regional and local public authorities of the Mediterranean Basin for the forecast and management of climate change effects along the coast (European Projects: Costance, Maremed, Coastgap, Medsandcoast and Facecoast Cluster).

The Region was hence looking for a viable solution to efficiently monitor the evolution of the coastline in time, while improving the accessibility of the information collected.

The satellite solution

Since 2005, the CM-GIZC has commissioned TeleSpazio for the acquisition of high resolution images for about 300 km of its coast. TeleSpazio provides the service through the Digital Globe Institute, owner and manager of the satellite Quickbird II that is able to distribute diversified services, depending on the scope of application of the satellite data. The images combined with historical and field data were used to create an online database showing coastal features and trends.

Satellite imagery allows CM-GIZC to monitor coastal evolution and offers a varied range of information, from coastal morphology to chemical composition and infrastructure and works.

In addition, the images enable the region to monitor shoreline modifications over time and to assess erosion along the entire coast. Bathymetric surveys are also available for coastline stretches subject to interventions in the past.

All data information collected is available on a WebGIS dashboard showing shoreline evolution data from 1943 to 2011.

The results

The Web-GIS tool allows the Region to identify areas needing maintenance and to prioritise interventions. In 2011, thanks to satellite-data, the CM-GIZC was able to release the “Atlas of Coastal Dynamics”, a coastal planning support tool which provides an analytical description of erosion phenomena along the coast and defense interventions such us the beach nourishment, harbor dredging and coastal ecosystem protection.

“Satellite imagery allows us to forecast the main potential impacts of floods, beach erosion and climate change and to plan different coastal defence solutions on time”. Paolo Lupino, Director of the Coastal Protection Area of the Regional Directorate for Water Resources and Land Protection