Grenadines MarSIS
Marine Resource and Space-use Information System

Habitat, Resource and SPAce-use Mapping


From July 2011 – June 2012, Alison DeGraff (of Middlebury College) Compton Foundation Fellow, together with her mentor Dr. Kimberly Baldwin (of CERMES, UWI) used a participatory approach to map and collect terrestrial heritage data on important historical, cultural, and ecological sites of the Grenadine Islands. This information fills the identified data gaps in the Grenadines MarSIS and will serve to strengthen the current application of the Grenadine Islands as a transboundary UNESCO marine mixed (cultural/ecological) World Heritage Site. This designation can offer the two countries international status, inspire ecotourism initiatives, and provide further legitimacy for endeavors to protect the Grenadine coastal and marine ecosystem.

     The heritage dataset includes information on: 

  • Early Agro-Processing (indigo, lime, sugar, cotton, storerooms)
  • Historic Buildings (churches, buildings, estate houses)
  • Archaeological Sites (archaeological digs, shell medians, pottery, work stones)
  • Colonial Defenses (forts, coastal batteries, cannons)
  • Ruins (buildings, churches, estate houses, slave quarters, roads, bridges)
  • Burial Grounds (cemeteries, grave sites)
  • Windmills (windmills, wind turbines)
  • Whaling (whaling stations)
  • Museums (historic, maritime)
  • Cultural Sites (regattas, festivals, ceremonies, music)
  • Viewpoints/Seascapes
  • Water Sources (wells, cisterns, ponds, manmade ponds)
  • Ecological Sites (historic trees, botanical gardens, trails)
  • Geologic Features (volcanic features, rock formations)
  • Seabird Breeding and Important Bird Areas **EPIC and BirdLife International**

Read the National Geographic - Grenadines Heritage Mapping Geo Story
Be sure to visit the Maps and Documents page to download heritage maps for each Grenadine Island or visit

DeGraff, A. and K. Baldwin. 2013. Expanding on the Marine Resource and Space Use Information System for the Grenadine Islands with Important Historical, Cultural, and Ecological Heritage Sites. CERMES Technical Report No.
University of the West Indies, Barbados.

For questions about the terrestrial ecological and cultural heritage sites please contact Alison DeGraff at

                                          COASTAL MARINE HABITAT AND RESOURCE MAPPING 

Marine habitat was mapped during a four week research cruise aboard a 47’ catamaran provided by The Moorings in 2008 & 2009. This research cruise was a collaborative effort between multiple organisations (academia, private sector and government) resulting in a first of its kind habitat and resource map of the Grenadine Islands and Grenada Bank. The research crew consists of two Grenadines fishers: Kester Douglas and Albert Hanson (also a park ranger from the Tobago Cays Marine Park); a local captain, George Steele; two fisheries biologists from CERMES, Renata Goodridge and Kim Baldwin; and two deck-hands Fabian and Amy Peters.

Critical marine habitats such as reefs, seagrass, and mangroves as well as areas important for fishing were mapped during the cruise. 

A combination of remote sensing and ground-truthing was used to map the shallower coastal water areas; and a live-action drop camera was deployed off of the catamaran in deeper waters to map marine habitat up to 250 ft. in depth. Depth data was also collected (every 30 seconds the catamaran was in motion) using a Garmin GPS sonar to develop a 3D seafloor map of the Grenada Bank. 

In addition, fishing knowledge was also collected to identify areas important for the various fisheries, types of gear used and to the model quality of the Grenada Bank fishing grounds. Information collected was merged using GIS software and a first of its kind 3D map of the Grenada Bank seafloor was created.

Special thanks to our sponsors who funded this unique cruise:
The Moorings, The Mustique Company, The Lighthouse Foundation/The Sustainable Grenadines Project, Tobago Cays Marine Park, The University of the West Indies—Cave Hill Campus, and the PADI Project AWARE Foundation. 


STEP 1: Marine Habitat Classification Scheme

A simple and easy to understand marine habitat classification scheme was collaboratively developed with marine manager and resource user stakeholders at a scale determined to be relevant for local planning, management and decision-making purposes.

These classes included: mangrove, seagrass, salt pond/swamp, sand, coral reef, mixed live bottom and hard bottom.

STEP 2: Deep water Survey

To model habitat of the deep waters (up to the 60 m in depth) of the Grenada Bank, GIS was used to overlay a 1 km2 grid over the Grenada Bank and in which we surveyed 10% of the grid cells.

At each site, a SeaViewer underwater video camera was used to record and view the type of marine habitat as well as assess the suitability of the fishing ground.

Local fishermen and captain were hired as part of the research team.

Seafloor depth data was also collected during the cruise using a sonar (Garmin GPS 540s) and with the use of GIS we developed a first-time (or baseline) 3D marine habitat map of the Grenada Bank.

STEP 3: Shallow water
habitat map

Remote sensing using satellite imagery and NOAA’s Habitat Digitizer extension was used with ArcGIS to map for the shallow coastal water habitats of the Grenada Bank. Next, we tested the accuracy of the shallow water habitat map by doing surveys to validate or 'ground-truth' the map during the research cruise. Again, local fishermen were hired as part of the research team and approximately 200 randomly selected points were surveyed. A Garmin Etrex GPS device was used to locate survey sites and the habitat type and other types of fishing information were collected using either snorkeling or SCUBA diving.

Be sure to download the Google Earth MarSIS Database to view all of
the underwater pictures and videos taken during these marine surveys!


Resource, Livelihood, Space-use and Threat Mapping Exercises

The Grenadine communities contributed local knowledge of the resources and space-uses for inclusion within the MarSIS. This was accomplished through a series of three participatory mapping exercises
conducted with resource users in each Grenadine Island over a three year period.

The first mapping exercise was conducted to determine the locally-used names

 for the beaches, bays and cays of the Grenadines. In the second mapping exercise, interviews were used to map space-use patterns of the various marine livelihoods (dive shops, day tours, fishers, charter yachter, ferries). The third mapping exercise was conducted to identify the location of key coastal and marine resources, space-uses as well as areas of threat or of concern by the community.

Several maps were produced for each island (one each of local names, critical coastal and marine resources, space-use patterns and areas of threat or issues) and shared as printed maps in each community as well as available electronically using the e-group and website to validate and obtain feedback before being rendered complete.

You can download resource, space-use and threat maps for each island on the Documents and Maps page!

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