Discovery Software, STEMgis, Temporal GIS

CoastRanger MS


March 2009

Innovative educational tool for coastal management

Halcrow has released CoastRanger MS, an interactive educational tool designed to raise public awareness of sustainable shoreline management policies.  The project, which was completed with Discovery Software Ltd, has been funded by Defra’s Innovation Fund project under the Making Space for Water strategy.

The PC based visualisation tool allows users to manage a virtual length of shoreline within a pc-gaming type environment.   The tool allows members of the public to explore the consequences that different management approaches have on coastal processes, natural environments and flood and coastal erosion risk.  CoastRanger MS comes complete with booklets that provide user instructions and information on the technical background relating to the product.  The instructions also describe how the software can be used in different ways.  The software also contains an introductory presentation explaining typical coastal management issues and management approaches.

Dr Nigel Pontee, project manager for Halcrow, said: “This tool to highlight the difficult decisions that need to be made on our coastlines.  We hope that it will provide an interesting way of involving members of the public in discussions concerning coastal management projects.

When putting together shoreline management plans and coastal defence strategy plans in the past, it’s become apparent that people’s expectations of long-term coastal defence policies are misguided.  Some people believe that if they stay with the existing forms of defence, then the shoreline will continue to look exactly the same, even far into the future.   However, in most instances this isn’t the case and rising sea levels are likely to lead to the loss of beaches unless expensive works are undertaken.  It is therefore important to explain the nature of future changes and the impacts that they will have on local communities. ”  

This PC based tool helps demonstrate the future changes that will face coastal communities in a way can be easily understood by planners, local authorities and members of the public. 

Dr Nigel Pontee, Halcrow.

Pontee N. I., and Morris, K.. (in press). A tool for improving public engagement. Journal of Coastal Research. Accepted June 2000.


Kevin Morris:

Nigel Pontee:

Inovation Fund: