SeaZone Marine Mapping Helps Uncover the Past in the New Forest

September 08, 2009 -- The UK's New Forest National Park Authority is using detailed marine mapping from SeaZone to undertake an archaeological assessment of its coastline in response to changing sea levels. Part of a nationwide programme of Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Surveys supported by English Heritage, the study will help with the development of long term coastal management plans by identifying archaeological and historic sites, and protecting them where possible or making provision for their recording where this may not be possible. There is a need to protect archaeological sites and artefacts from rising sea level and flooding as well as increasing pressures from industrial, residential and leisure developments.

Using SeaZone HydroSpatial together with additional historic records such as aerial photographs many dating back over 90 years, the study aims to identify and record previously undiscovered archaeological sites and artefacts along the 86 kilometres of New Forest and National Park coastline. Supplied as a multi layered theme the digital data is easily used in the Authority’s Geographical Information System (GIS).

“The SeaZone data is invaluable in identifying changes to the landscape over the past 8,000 years,” commented Mark James, Maritime Archaeology Project Officer. “For example the bathymetric layer gives us a greater understanding of the sea bed and helps us identify previous water courses and ancient river and stream channels that are now submerged in the Solent. In addition the Wrecks and Obstruction data has the potential for discovering archaeological sites helping us identify locations for further investigation.”

The New Forest National Park Authority (NFNPA) was established to conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the park and to promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its outstanding qualities. The first new National Park to be created in fifty years and the first in the south-east of England. The New Forest National Park lies mainly in south-west Hampshire – from east of the Avon Valley to Southampton Water and from the Solent coast to the edge of the Wiltshire chalk downs.

SeaZone HydroSpatial provides reference information comparable with land mapping and is designed for easy access and cost effective use in desktop and web GIS, satisfying the majority of user needs and applications. SeaZone HydroSpatial consists of six topic layers including Bathymetry and Elevation, Natural and Physical Features, Structures and Obstructions, Socio Economic and Marine Use, Conservation and Environmental Protection and Climate and Oceanography.

“The fact that we can obtain most of the data we need, from a single supplier, in a format we can use and at an attractive price means we can concentrate on the work in hand rather than trying to source data and manipulate it for our specific requirements,” concluded Mark James.

Alison Smith, Marketing & Sales Manager, SeaZone
Tel: +44 (0) 870 013 0607, Email: Email Contact, Web:

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