NOS Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI)

sample ESI map


NOAA's Environmental Sensitivity Index (ESI) "systematically compiles information in standard formats for coastal shoreline sensitivity, biological resources, and human-use resources. ESI maps are useful for identifying sensitive resources before a spill occurs so that protection priorities can be established and cleanup strategies designed in advance."

The ESI maps are available for North Carolina in GIS data formats (geodatabase, shapefiles, .dbf, and .e00) or as PDF maps. The GIS data and maps are available on the Libraries' Geodata server, CD-ROM, or on the Web via the NOS Data Explorer or the Office of Response and Restoration's website. As of February 2009, the date stamp for the latest North Carolina data online is 1996. Other states have more recent data, however.

Data Content and Network Access

A list of data layers is provided below. See the documentation for more information.

Data files are on the Geodata server at:

All data are in geographic coordinates, NAD 27.

Dataset List:

Birds Environmental Sensitivity Index (polygon) Fish Habitats (polygon) Habitats (point) Hydrography Index Index2 Invertebrates Management Areas Marine Mammals Nests Reptiles Socioeconomic

Additional attribute information is available in .dbf format. See the online documentation or use the ArcView project to make use of this information.

South Carolina and Georgia: Data for SC and GA are available on CD-ROM--data content may not be the same.

CD-ROM Access

CD-ROMs are available in DH Hill Learning Commons, GIS Cabinet, under the following call numbers:

North Carolina: Ref GIS Cab. G1301 D1 E84 2001
South Carolina: Ref GIS Cab. G1306 D1 E84 2001

Documentation and Links

The documentation is available online or on the CD-ROM. The following documents are available in PDF format:

Additional information about ESI data and maps (including online access to PDF maps) may be found at the NOS Data Explorer.