Our best photography tip? Use a helicopter.

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Welcome to CoastView! We're so excited that you've joined us. We have lots of interesting things to share with you about the Pacific Northwest and Alaska coasts, and we love to answer your questions.

One question we hear a lot is, "How did you get the amazing photos you use in the CoastView app?"

That's a great question, and the answer is a story we like to share.

The photos are from a mapping project called ShoreZone. ShoreZone was developed back in the early 1980s in Canada as a tool to help the local British Columbia government respond to offshore oil spills. The ShoreZone scientists created a system to describe sections of the coast - for example, whether it's sandy or rocky, and what kinds of plants grow there. And to help them map these features, the scientists took to low-flying planes and helicopters to shoot close-up pictures of the coast.

Scientists timed the photo shoots to correspond to extreme low-tide so they could see as much of the coast as possible. Eventually they photographed the entire coast of B.C.  Over time, the usefulness of a coastal database supported by high-quality photos became clear to others in the Pacific Northwest and Alaska.  Champions from Washington State, Alaska, and Oregon stepped up to organize and fund ShoreZone surveys for their coasts as well.

So why CoastView?

CoastView relies on ShoreZone images, but takes them one step further. While ShoreZone is only available online, CoastView makes the images accessible when and where you want them, even if you're not connected to the internet. 

Because here's the thing: most people want to see the coast while they are traveling.

So we created CoastView, so you can see what the coast looks like while you're there. Maybe you're on a kayak trip near Juneau, driving along the Oregon coast, or flying from Seattle to Anchorage.  Before you leave home you can download your route, and the pictures will be available during your journey.

That's especially important because an online connection is still a rare thing in some parts of the Pacific Northwest and Alaska. 

And because all the photos are geo-referenced, you'll be able to see the images that correspond to your exact location. It's kind of like having super-strong binoculars.

But of course, not everyone has the luxury of traveling to the Pacific Northwest or Alaska. So we've made sure that you can 'visit' the coast anytime, anywhere using the app's virtual mode.

We are working hard on finishing the app. Subscribe to our newsletter to be the first to know when it's ready for you!