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.
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 https://remote.normandeau.com/nys_docs.php.
[2022-06-06] The following recorded species names got their assigned scientific names corrected. SAND TIGER SHARK: Carcharhinus plumbeus => Carcharias taurus SANDERLING: Carcharias taurus => Calidris alba BLACK SCOTER: Pluvialis squatarola => Melanitta nigra BLACK TERN: Pterodroma hasitata => Chlidonias niger BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER: Rissa tridactyla => Pluvialis squatarola BLACK-CAPPED PETREL: Melanitta nigra => Pterodroma hasitata BLACK-LEGGED KITTIWAKE: Chlidonias niger => Rissa tridactyla LOGGERHEAD TURTLE: Cheloniidae => Caretta caretta LOGGERHEAD/KEMP'S TURTLE: Caretta caretta => Cheloniidae RED PHALAROPE: Mergus serrator => Phalaropus fulicarius RED/RED-NECKED PHALAROPE: Phalaropus lobatus => Phalaropus RED-BREASTED MERGANSER: Phalaropus fulicarius => Mergus serrator RED-NECKED PHALAROPE: Phalaropus => Phalaropus lobatus SANDBAR SHARK: Calidris alba => Carcharhinus plumbeus
[2020-08-06] Data were updated with additional attributes. Species identification was revised.
Transect area is calculated based on the planned aircraft altitude and assumed to be a consistent value. Actual coverage of the area may vary due to fluctuations in the aircraft altitude during the survey. This may result in target observation points being displayed outside the transect area.
Tracklines are viewable online as a static layer.
The data in 2016 is available at http://seamap.env.duke.edu/dataset/1817 http://seamap.env.duke.edu/dataset/1818
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)
Unique ID number (generated by OBIS-SEAMAP)
Unique ID for target Each entry is 1 individual (except for Fish Shoals which is one entry per 1 shoal encompassing uncounted number of fish)
Survey identifier including Number, Season, and Year
Date image taken, in local time (EST/EDT)
Time image taken, in local time (EST/EDT)
1st level of identification
2nd 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
3rd 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
Taxonomic Serial Number added by OBIS-SEAMAP
Number of animals (always 1)
Confidence level of ID: Definite Probable Possible blank = not rated
Generally, head-to-tail length in cm. This is NOT turtle carapace. Ignored for non-animal & fish shoal. NULL = not determined
Wing span tip to tip in cm. 0 = wings are folded up/bird is sitting on surface. Applies to avian only
Altitude above sea level in meters of flying birds. 0 = non-flying bird; unk = unable to calculate altitude of flying bird. Applies to avian only
Mean altitude error (meters) = the average error for each species in the species group
Depth rating. blank = not rated
Direction of target (in degrees)
Yes = Species/Species Group status is listed (as of 2016)
Image name where target is located
Latitude in decimal degrees (WGS84)
Longitude in decimal degrees (WGS84)
Sargassum is present in image with target. 1 = present; 0 = not present; blank = not evaluated
Survey area: Always OPA (Offshore Planning Area)
Scientific name if species is identified
Family if species is identified
Corresponding transect number in format Area-SurveyDateYYYYMMDD-Transect# (e.g. OPA-20160827-101)
Corresponding transect number only
For fish shoals: Unique identifier for individual shoal
For fish shoals: Area of shoal in square meters. Measurement of area is limited to shoal visibility.
For fish shoals: Yes/No if shoal extends beyond the aerial image. Shoals are only measured up to edge of image; if they extend beyond the image, that portion is unable to be included in the shoal area.