The Customized Online Aggregation & Summarization Tool for Environmental Rasters (COASTER) system (www.COASTERdata.net) was developed by Yellowstone Ecological Research Center (YERC) (http://www.yellowstoneresearch.org/) to produce outputs useful for visualizing spatial and temporal patterns within environmental datasets and as variables in statistical models. This project is designed to meet the information needs of end-user communities interested in decision-support for responding to environmental impacts driven by climate change, land-use activities, and disturbance. The primary intent of COASTER is to greatly reduce the data storage and computational capabilities required to create user-defined covariates, thereby expanding the number of users able to readily utilize powerful environment datasets in research and decision making. COASTER accomplishes this goal by enabling users to process large and cumbersome datasets, using a set of pre-established functions, to simply and cost-effectively create output customized to meet their needs. Notable features of COASTER include a concise yet effective user interface, a flexible set of functions capable of producing a wide range of outputs, a design applicable to many types of raster datasets, a scalable system architecture that can easily accommodate additional datasets, and results formatted for seamless integration within most GIS and remote sensing software packages.

COASTER Documentation

A detailed description of the COASTER system is freely available here: COASTER white paper PDF


Project Design:

Daniel Weiss


Katie Gibson, Charlie Sojka, and Daniel Weiss

Data Providers:

TOPS datasets - Rama Nemani, Andy Michaelis, and Forrest Melton (NASA Ames Research Center, http://ecocast.arc.nasa.gov/)

TOPOMET datasets - Jared Oyler (University of Montana, Numerical Terradynamic Simulation Group)

NCEP/NCAR, NCEP/NARR, and NOAA CPC datasets - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Earth System Research Laboratory, Physical Sciences Division – http://www.esrl.noaa.gov/psd/data/gridded/

Percent Surface Water (PSW) Dataset and CASA Express for Wetlands and Mountains - Yellowstone Ecological Research Center (YERC)

Special Thanks:

The USGS Cryospheric Studies Project (Frank Urban) and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Water and Environment Research Center for meteorological base station input data used in creating the TOPS Alaska datasets.

Jennifer L. Jenkins (Arctic Landscape Conservation Cooperative) for her efforts in finding meteorological input data for Alaska.

Current and former YERC employees who contributed their energy to this project including Robert Crabtree, Jennifer Sheldon, Brandt Winkelman, Aaron Doern, Steve Jay, and Deanna Tarum.

All COASTER users who tested the beta version of the system and provided their valuable feedback.

Funding Sources

NASA Ecological Forecasting (RRSC-SHC) NNX08AM70G

NASA Biological Response to Climate (A.30 BioClim) NNX11AK90G

NSF Field Station and Marine Lab (FSML) 0829495

NSF EPSCoR Track 1 MUS System PG12-67600-01

Contact Information

Questions regarding COASTER should be directed to Daniel Weiss at:  weiss AT YellowstoneResearch.org