Development of Field Data Collection Application for the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program

Photo of coral on the ocean floor

Project Brief

The Challenge

The National Coral Reef Monitoring Program, run by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, is an integrated monitoring framework that collects sustained observations of biological, climatic, and socioeconomic indicator data to provide a dynamic view of the condition of U.S. coral reef ecosystems over time. The framework’s socioeconomic component focuses on collecting socioeconomic information (such as human use of coral reef resources and resident demographics) in U.S. coral reef jurisdictions every 5 to 7 years. Core survey questions include:

  • What is the status of human knowledge, attitudes, and perceptions regarding coral reefs?
  • How are human uses of, interactions with, and dependence on coral reefs changing over time?

NOAA contracted with PG Environmental (a division of The ERG Group) to digitize the socioeconomic component of the NCRMP survey.

ERG's Solution

Because the survey’s socioeconomic portion includes door-to-door surveys of local populations, PG’s digital solution needed to integrate survey data with geospatial information. To address this challenge, PG developed two coordinated mobile applications by using and integrating the data structures of two Geographic Information System applications: ESRI Field Maps and ESRI Survey123. Following development, PG documented best practices and provided training for field staff in proper use of these applications in the field. Since then, field staff have been deploying these applications in the U.S. territories of Guam and Puerto Rico to record door-to-door survey responses with Survey123 and collect geospatial data using a customized Field Maps form. NOAA then incorporates these datasets into their analysis of how attitudes toward and perceptions, knowledge, and use of U.S. coral reef ecosystems and associated management are changing over time. On an ongoing basis, PG updates each application based on NCRMP needs, actively manages the online hosted data layers, and regularly performs quality control checks on collected data.


National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration