Digital Aerial Baseline Survey of Marine Wildlife in Support of Offshore Wind Energy - OPA 2016

NYSERDA, APEM, Normandeau Associates

Dataset credit

NYSERDA, Normandeau Associates Inc., APEM Ltd.


Primary contact Michelle Vukovich Normandeau Associates, Inc.
Data entry Ei Fujioka Duke University



In support of New York State’s commitment to incorporating offshore wind into its energy portfolio, the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) embarked on a multi-year ultra-high resolution aerial digital survey of marine resources in a 43,745.20 km2 (12,754.06 mi2) offshore planning area (OPA) in 2016. The OPA encompasses the waters of the New York Bight from Long Island southeast to the continental shelf break. Surveys are conducted on a quarterly basis, timed to coincide with periods of abundance of avian and marine species that could be vulnerable to impacts from offshore wind activities. Each survey collected images covering at least 7% of the OPA.
For each survey, approximately 300,000 images were collected within the OPA using a transect design. During the first survey year, special attention was also paid to the wind energy area (WEA) using a more detailed grid survey design, collecting around 100,000 images. Each survey collected images covering at least 10% of the WEA. WEA survey data are in a separate dataset.
There was some variation in sampling effort among surveys as a different camera system that captured a larger footprint was used after the Summer 2016 survey.

YR1 consists of Survey01 Summer2016, Survey02 Fall2016, Survey03 Winter2016-17, Survey04 Spring2017.


The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) contracted with Normandeau Associates Inc. (Normandeau) and teaming partner APEM Inc. (APEM) to use high resolution aerial digital imagery to collect data on birds, marine mammals, sea turtles, cartilaginous fish, and other taxa encountered offshore. Surveys are conducted four times a year over three years. The surveys have been designed in light of available historical data and use the latest digital and sensor technology to provide high identification success. Survey results for birds, marine mammals, turtles, and cartilaginous fish are presented in semiannual reports, which will cumulatively provide insight into interseasonal and interannual variation in species composition, densities, and distributions. Reports are available at

Supplemental information

[2020-08-06] Data were updated with additional attributes. Species identification was revised.




This section explains attributes included in the original dataset. OBIS-SEAMAP restricts the attributes available to the public to date/time, lat/lon and species names/counts only. Should you need other attributes described here, you are encouraged to contact the data provider.

Attributes described below represent those in the original dataset provided by the provider.
All attributes are included in the downloadable file (CSV or ESRI File Geodatabase) for "Complete Set of Dataset".

Attributes in dataset

Attribute (table column)Description
oidUnique ID number (generated by OBIS-SEAMAP)
snag_idUnique ID for target Each entry is 1 individual (except for Fish Shoals which is one entry per 1 shoal encompassing uncounted number of fish)
datetakenDate image taken, in local time (EST/EDT)
timetakenTime image taken, in local time (EST/EDT)
id_type1st level of identification
id_subtype2nd level of identification Target group type if identified Needs id = Target has not been reviewed for ID Unid. Type = Target has been reviewed and cannot be identified to a subtype
id_species3rd level of identification Common Name if identified Needs id = Target has not been reviewed for ID species unknown = Target has been reviewed and cannot be identified to species
sp_tsnTaxonomic Serial Number added by OBIS-SEAMAP
obs_countNumber of animal. Always 1
id_confidConfidence level of ID: Definite Probable Possible blank = not rated
lengthcmGenerally, head-to-tail length in cm. This is NOT turtle carapace. Ignored for non-animal & fish shoal. NULL = not determined
wingspancmWing span tip to tip in cm. 0 = wings are folded up/bird is sitting on surface. Applies to avian only
altitudemAltitude above sea level in meters of flying birds. 0 = non-flying bird; unk = unable to calculate altitude of flying bird. Applies to avian only
surfaceDepth rating. blank = not rated
headingdegDirection of target (in degrees)
listedYes = Species/Species Group status is listed (as of 2016)
parentimgImage name where target is located
latitudeLatitude in decimal degrees (WGS84)
longitudeLongitude in decimal degrees (WGS84)
areaSurvey area: Always OPA (Offshore Planning Area)
scientificScientific name if species is identified
familyFamily if species is identified
transectidCorresponding transect number in format Area-SurveyDateYYYYMMDD-Transect# (e.g. OPA-20160827-101)
transectnoCorresponding transect number only
geomGeometry field added by OBIS-SEAMAP
Marine mammals5,338
Sea turtles610
Rays and sharks7,346
Other species10,011
Non spatial0
Non species13,254
Date, Begin2016-07-26
Date, End2017-05-21
Temporal prec.111111
Latitude38.45 - 41.08
Longitude-73.92 - -70.57
Coord. prec.4 decimal digits
Data typeAnimal sighting
Traveled (km)0
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Sharing policy CC-BY (All)
Shared with OBIS
GBIF (via DOI)
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