November 15, 2016

Indian River Lagoon Community Mapping

Welcome to the Community Mapping Site for the Indian River Lagoon.  Our goal on this site is to collect information about the Lagoon from community members, organizations, and citizen scientists.  Please click on the mapping image below to access the online mapping site where you can add your own information about the Indian River Lagoon.

Mapping Site Purpose:  We use online mapping from citizen scientists to understand a) what motivates an individual to develop a strong sense of place or emotional attachment to the Indian River Lagoon (IRL) and b) where such motivations occur throughout the IRL. By participating on this mapping site, you acknowledge that your mapping data will be part of the open data domain.

Research Question: What are the key factors that allow individuals in Central Florida to have an emotional attachment or sense of place in the Indian River Lagoon?

Instructions: Once you are in the mapping site (below), and after zooming in to your location of interest, you will use the mapping form to add location(s) where you feel an emotional attachment in the Indian River Lagoon. Once you add a location to the map, you will be asked a series of brief questions related to the location you mapped.  There are no right or wrong answers, this map is based on your knowledge of the Indian River Lagoon.  We recognize that people may have multiple locations within the IRL where they feel an emotional attachment.  You can draw multiple locations by submitting multiple entries into the map. After mapping please share with your community friends, organizations, or colleagues so they can add their data to the map as well and use the hashtag #citizensciencegis.

Ready to add your data to the map?  Click on the map below to get started.


Disclaimers: Please share with your networks through email and social media.  This project is funded by National Science Foundation Coupled Natural-Human Systems Program Award #1617374.  Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Questions: If you have questions about the community mapping project, please contact Dr. Timothy Hawthorne at University of Central Florida at 407.823.1030 or  If you have questions about the National Science Foundation project in the IRL, please contact Dr. Linda Walters at University of Central Florida at 407.823.2148 or

National Science Foundation Abstract of Award:

This interdisciplinary research project will explore the role of small-scale, community-based restoration projects in facilitating enhanced resilience within both human and ecological systems. This project will increase knowledge of the processes through which human engagement in ecosystem restoration promotes beneficial feedbacks within coastal ecosystems. It will enhance understanding about the specific pathways through which restoration disrupts degraded ecosystems and influences human behavior. A large number of complementary, integrated datasets will be assembled, allowing the project to provide a system-level assessment of ecosystem services related to coastal restoration. The project also will explore the potential for changes in human perception and a sense of place to create feedbacks through altered human behavior that impact natural system dynamics. In addition to its fundamental intellectual merit, the project will yield a diverse set of positive broader impacts. It will quantify relationships between restoration success and impact within and between human and natural components of coastal ecosystems in order to improve likelihoods that future restorations will effectively reduce human vulnerability and improve ecological function. The investigators will engage local research participants, such as fishermen and business owners, in ecological restoration and in the use of techniques like participatory geographic information systems. They also will engage elementary and secondary school educators and students in research through hands-on workshops focused on using digital technologies for storytelling, mapping, and data analysis.

Significant attention has been given to the degradation and exploitation of natural resources, but ecosystem restoration represents an activity through which humans seek to improve natural systems. Despite growing investments in restoration, a critical knowledge gap persists in understanding what constitutes “success” and whether traditionally accepted metrics of restoration success (such as the survival rate of plantings or the number of volunteers who participate) are truly indicative of measurable “impacts” (such as improvements to ecological function or enhanced stakeholder buy-in). The investigators will leverage a decade-long monitoring dataset for more than 80 oyster reef and living shoreline restoration projects that have involved over 51,000 volunteers spanning along Florida’s Indian River Lagoon. They will generate experimental data to examine restoration impacts on local and regional biogeochemistry, hydraulics, sediment transport, recreational fisheries, and threatened or endangered wading birds. Combining these restoration-impact measures with traditional restoration success metrics for both site- and lagoon-scale ecosystem responses will provide a more complete and quantitative understanding of restoration outcomes. They also will conduct a comprehensive assessment of stakeholder perceptions, attitudes, and the creation of a “sense of place” within the restored and surrounding natural system. Research products will create highly transferable knowledge regarding the critical attributes of restoration and local community engagement that cascade into beneficial feedbacks between humans and restored ecosystems. This project is supported by the NSF Dynamics of Coupled Natural and Human Systems (CNH) Program.