One of the most common usages of geospatial data in the insurance industry is a “distance to coast” calculation. The goal is to find out how far a location is from the coastline, then make underwriting and/or pricing decisions based on that data. Why? Because coastlines are right next to seawater. A cubic yard of seawater weighs 1728 pounds and can be mightily destructive.
As odd as this may seem, the problem is…what’s the coastline? For example, if your local marina is across the street from your home – but the “beach” is three miles away – which is the “shore?” Is the shoreline the place where salt water can rush into your home, or the nearest spot with problematic parking on a hot summer day?
This is a problem inherent to many low-lying areas across both coasts in the US but is especially prevalent in the Southeast.