Critical Cartography & Restoration Project

Between Land and Sea: Remote Sensing for Nature-based Solutions
Istanbul & Marmara Sea
2022-ongoing, National Geographic Society

Heavily urbanized areas of the world, like the Istanbul metropolitan area and the Sea of Marmara, have become low-oxygen or hypoxic zones due to the pressures of urbanization, runoff and nutrient loads in coastal areas.  In the summer of 2021, the Sea of Marmara’s coastline was covered in a thick layer of mucilage for more than six months. Pollution, warmer temperatures, and stagnant water led to an unprecedented proliferation of phytoplankton, whose mucus settled on the sea bed, killing many endemic coral, seagrass and shellfish species.

In a growing metropolitan area where development pressures can outweigh conservation efforts, a ctively restoring coastal habitats and implementing nature-based infrastructure is a challenge. Given sea level rise projections for mid-century and end of century, nature-based solutions are also critical for creating resilient and dynamic coastlines that can help communities adapt.  Through this project supported by National Geographic Society, we are developing an evidence-based, inclusive research process to support coastal restoration planning, with a goal of preserving and restoring at least 30% of the coastline, in the Sea of Marmara working with communities and scientists on the ground to map the unmapped in contexts where geospatial data is limited or not accessible by the public.

1. A false color image of the Sea of Marmara and Istanbul Metropolitan Region [ Short-wave infrared, Near Infrared and Green Bands] where urbanized areas appear white, gray, or purple, and agricultural areas appear pink, providing contrast with the green vegetation. 2-4 Photos from the coastline of Istanbul showing mucilage covering the coastine.  Satellite Images obtained through NASA’s Landsat 8-9 Operational Land Imager (OLI) and Thermal Infrared Sensor (TIRS) and the Planet Application Program Interface: In Space for Life on Earth. San Francisco, CA. Photos via AdobeStock.

About Us    Contact    ︎