Wisconsin Shoreline Inventory and Oblique Photo Viewer
An interactive map visualization of Wisconsin coastal data
1976 and 2007 Inventories

These inventories are from the research of David Mickelson, Senior Scientist and Emeritus Professor at the University of Wisconsin.

The Shoreline Inventory in the Great Lakes Coastal Oblique Photo Viewer are part of Dave Mickelson's research. The shoreline features in this file represent qaulitative 1976 backshore (bluff or low bank) conditions on Lake Michigan from Sturgeon Bay Canal south to the Illinois state line. Beach condition classifications used in the mapping were tested and modified several times before final mapping was begun.

Initial results were reported to the Wisconsin Coastal Management's Coastal Hazards Committee, and their feedback and the initial testing led to the following beach and bluff classifications. All of the shoreline for each date (1976 and 2007) had three components of classification: beach description, backshore description, and structure type.

Shore parallel structures that are onshore were mapped under beach description because they had length along the shoreline being segmented. Groins, jetties, and offshore breakwaters were mapped under structure type as points because most had no significant longshore dimension, or in the case of offshore breakwaters, no line to map on. Some were mapped as points and also as having extent along the shore.

In 1976 black-and-white oblique air photos were taken by Wisconsin DNR as part of a major shoreline erosion project. They covered the Lake Michigan shoreline from Sturgeon Bay Canal south to the Illinois state line. They also covered the Wisconsin part of Lake Superior shoreline.

In spring 2007 oblique digital photos were taken along the Lake Michigan shoreline from Sturgeon Bay Canal to the Illinois state line. Conditions along the shoreline were mapped in a GIS by David Mickelson between September, 2008 and February, 2009 using the 1976 and 2007 photos.

The 1976 photographs were geo-located by identifying features that could be seen in the oblique views and Microsoft Virtual Earth and if necessary the 2007 oblique photos. The 2007 photographs were geolocated using software called GPS -- Photo Link (Geospatial Experts).

2012 Photos

US Army Corps of Engineer oblique photos collected in 2012 as part of FEMA’s Great Lakes Coastal Flood Study program. Photos gathered from their 2011-2012 Oblique Imagery Viewer.

2016 Photos

These photos are courtesy of David Mickelson

2017 Photos

These photos are the result of a WCMP-funded Civil Air Patrol mission

Bluff Profiles

Bluff profiles, graphs, and images courtesy David Mickelson


Basemaps are provided by Mapbox©, which are based on OpenStreetMap© data. The Satellite basemap utilizes global satellite and aerial imagery from commercial providers, NASA, and USGS.

Satellite Basemap Source by Zoom Level

Levels 0-8
MODIS 2012-2013
Levels 9-12
Landsat 5 & 7, 2010–2011
Levels 13-19
A combination of open and proprietary sources, including DigitalGlobe’s GBM 2011+ for much of the world, USDA’s NAIP 2011–2013 in the contiguous United States, and open aerial imagery from Denmark, Finland, and parts of Germany.


Funded by the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office for Coastal Management under the Coastal Zone Management Act, Grant #NA14NOS4190113.

Association of State Floodplain Managers, Inc.
Dr. David Mickelson, Geo-Professional Consultants, LLC
Caitlin Wolters, Wolters GeoDevelopment LLC
The University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute

Additional information for developers can be found on the project's GitHub repository, located here.