Seven Good Reasons for Integrating Terrestrial and Marine Spatial Datasets in Changing Environments
A comprehensive understanding of environmental changes taking place in coastal regions relies on accurate integration of both terrestrial and submerged geo-environmental datasets. However, this practice is hardly implemented because of the high (or even prohibitive) survey costs required for submerged areas and the frequent low accessibility of shallow areas. In addition, geoscientists are used to working on land or at sea independently, making the integration even more challenging. Undoubtedly
... new methods and techniques of offshore investigation adopted over the last 50 years and the latest advances in computer vision have played a crucial role in allowing a seamless combination of terrestrial and marine data. Although efforts towards an innovative integration of geo-environmental data from above to underwater are still in their infancy, we have identified seven topics for which this integration could be of tremendous benefit for environmental research: (1) geomorphological mapping; (2) Late-Quaternary changes of coastal landscapes; (3) geoarchaeology; (4) geoheritage and geodiversity; (5) geohazards; (6) marine and landscape ecology; and (7) coastal planning and management. Our review indicates that the realization of seamless DTMs appears to be the basic condition to operate a comprehensive integration of marine and terrestrial data sets, so far exhaustively achieved in very few case studies. Technology and interdisciplinarity will be therefore critical for the development of a holistic approach to understand our changing environments and design appropriate management measures accordingly.