ESI Frequently Asked Questions Sunday, July 27, 2003
What is ESI?

ESI stands for the Environmental Sensitivity Index. It is part of the Louisiana Gulf-Wide Information System. The data of the ESI characterize coastal environments and wildlife by their sensitivity to spilled oil. It includes shoreline habitats, sensitive biological resources, and human-use resources as well as the biological and socio-economic components of the Louisiana Gulf-Wide Information System (G-WIS).

Who created the ESI?
This project was supported by the Minerals Management Service (MMS) in New Orleans, LA. This project was coordinated by Louisiana State University (LSU), Center for Coastal, Energy and Environmental Resources (CCEER) and the Department of Geography and Anthropology. The majority of natural resources data used to develop the larger LA G-WIS data set were provided by the Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries. Research Planning, Inc. (RPI) performed the shoreline classification, data processing, prepared the final metadata as well as contributed to the conceptual design of the project.

What areas of the state are covered?

Most of the ESI data is located in southern Louisiana below 31 degrees North latitude. However, some datasets of the ESI cover the entire state and a few extend far into the Gulf of Mexico.
What is the format of the data? The spatial datasets of the ESI are in ESRI shapefile format with corresponding Geomedia csf files. The shapefiles are in Geographic coordinates, North American Datum 1983. The attribute files of the ESI are in dBase dbf format.
What is the time frame of the data? The range of time for this data is from 1972 to 2002.
Why is the spatial and attribute data separate?

One set of attribute tables serves as the attribution for all the spatial layers. As a result, the user only needs to download this set of tables once and then download the required spatial layers. Warning: the joining of the spatial layers to the attributes is complex. Consult the entity relationship diagram in GIF image file la_gwis_er.gif which is enclosed with all the ESI datasets.

What spatial layers are included? The list of layers included in the ESI is available in the html file GWIS-ESI_README.htm which is included with each downloadable layer. Click here to list all the downloadable layers.
Where can I find more information about the ESI?
There is metadata in various forms included with each ESI layer. In additional to the files mentioned above, there is metadata for each layer. To view the ESI FAQ metadata, click here.