Seafloor Habitat Data

Developing Standard Approaches to Synthesizing, Visualizing, and Disseminating High-resolution Geophysical and Imagery Data to Advance Benthic Habitat Mapping for Offshore Wind in the Northeast

View the one-page project summary

July 2021 Project Status Update

Period of performance: November 2020 – February 2022

Partners: INSPIRE Environmental

Funding: Massachusetts Clean Energy Center, Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management

Summary: INSPIRE Environmental and the Northeast Regional Ocean Council are working together to develop standard approaches to synthesizing, visualizing, and disseminating high-resolution acoustic and imagery data to advance benthic habitat mapping in the wind energy areas of the Northeast. This project will develop best practices for:

  • integrating acoustic data and high-resolution imagery to map benthic habitats; and
  • making those habitat data available to federal and state regulators and stakeholders in a vetted and established forum, the Northeast Ocean Data Portal

INSPIRE will collaborate with NROC to ensure that these habitat data products are compatible with existing mapping standards. NROC will convene a Seafloor Habitat Data Work Group to elicit input regarding specific benthic habitat mapping needs as well as coordinating review and vetting by stakeholders of the developed habitat data products.


  1. Standard data request for a set of specific habitat data products relative to site characterization
  2. Improved understanding of habitat distributions across the region
  3. Use Northeast Ocean Data Portal to disseminate standard set of intermediate scale regional habitat composites that improve upon current region-scale data; possibly pilot a system to provide password-protected access to higher resolution underlying data

Seafloor Habitat Data Work Group


  • One response to recommendations made over the last several years by the NROC Ocean Planning Committee
  • Complementary to the NROC Habitat Classification and Ocean Mapping (HCOM) Subcommittee
  • Will inform a pilot project to use high- resolution seafloor habitat data (e.g., acoustic data and seafloor imagery) collected by the offshore wind industry to improve existing regional-scale seafloor habitat data products that vary in age, coverage, and scale.
  • Methods/approaches can be transferred to high-resolution seafloor habitat data from other sources and for other uses


  • Expertise in:
    • Offshore wind regulatory processes
    • Synthesis and classification of seafloor acoustic data and seafloor imagery
    • Development of interactive data exploration or analysis tools
    • Development of infographics and documentation, including metadata
  • From variety of organizations: offshore energy developers, federal and state agencies


< Back to Data Issues