Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


This paper describes the development of a spatial decision-support and management system to be used for improved coastal and harbor management. The design combines two separate systems, one is the use of Global Positioning Systems (GPS), and the other is the use of a Geographic Information (GIS) (ARCVIEW II). This pilot project specifically examined the use of GPS and GIS to identify, map, and monitor individual mooring buoys in one recreational harbor in Narragansett, Rhode Island. GPS was used for collection of positional information and was compared to one traditional marine positioning device, Loran-C, and the variations between each method are discussed. Explanations on both the advantages and disadvantages of each technology for final incorporation and use as a harbor management tool are also offered. The combination of GPS and GIS is an efficient means for assessing, monitoring and regulating individual mooring buoys at the municipal level. The proposed geographical management system could also be useful for other coastal communities that are trying to develop more comprehensive and workable strategies for managing complex coastal environments. Similarly, this project may prove to be beneficial for both state and federal agencies with an interest in coastal resources.