Assessment of Needs
The APA Digital Coast Needs Assessment Survey was made available to APA members through Zoomerang, a web-based survey program. The survey was announced to APA members through APA Interact beginning November 8, 2010, and officially closed on December 30, 2010. The target population for the survey was APA members involved in planning coastal communities along a marine coast, tidal estuary, or the Great Lakes. There were 687 complete responses, 654 partial responses, and 254 screen-outs. Since the target population is unknown, it is not possible to calculate a response rate. Furthermore, to ensure independence among respondents, only complete responses are considered valid for analysis since it is possible (and even likely) that members who submitted partial responses may have subsequently submitted complete responses.
Points of Inquiry
The assessment of coastal and marine geospatial tools, data, training, and information among APA members involved in planning coastal communities entails several points of inquiry. The first question of the survey asked respondents to identify which role(s) they had or currently filled for coastal communities. Next, respondents were asked three questions about the demographics of the communities they served. The next set of questions asked respondents to assess both their personal and organizational capacity. Subsequent questions asked respondents to prioritize issues, data needs, tool needs, training needs, and constraints. The final section of the survey posed questions about communicating coastal information. The last question asked respondents whether they were certified planners (AICP or FAICP).
These points of inquiry were developed into a survey instrument intended for APA members involved in planning coastal communities along a marine coast, tidal estuary, or the Great Lakes. The following tables and discussion illustrate the responses from APA members involved in coastal planning who successfully completed the survey.
A "completed survey" is defined as a response in which all questions are answered by the respondent. A "partially completed survey" is defined as a response in which at least one, but not all, questions are answered by the respondent. A "screen-out" is defined as a response in which the respondent answered Question 1 (Which of the following characterizes your current or past involvement with planning coastal communities? (please select all that apply)) by marking the following response: "Have not been involved in planning coastal communities." Such a response to Question 1 would have prevented the respondent from viewing (and answering) additional questions since the survey is intended only for APA members involved in planning coastal communities along a marine coast, tidal estuary, or the Great Lakes.
The authors acknowledge that it is also possible (but not likely) that members who initially submitted a complete response may have also have submitted another complete response at a later time. The authors also acknowledge that it is possible (but not likely) that non-members may have submitted a complete response. With these caveats, the authors make the assumptions that all responses analyzed in this report were complete, independent, and submitted by APA members.