It is widely recognised that organisations involved in coastal management must take steps to improve the ways in which stakeholders and the public are involved in coastal decision-making. In particular, there needs to be more emphasis on improving participation, consultation, and information provision throughout the process. In recognition of this, there is a need to develop new techniques that could aid the communication of coastal information to the public. It has been suggested that some of these techniques might involve the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Whilst GIS are widely used by coastal managers, their application is hampered by the highly technical output that they often produce. However, the advent of a new type of system known as virtual reality GIS enables the likely effects of coastal management decisions to be presented in a format that is suitable for widespread consultation and dissemination. A proposed managed realignment scheme on the north Norfolk coast, England, is used to describe an integrated GIS methodology allowing the production of virtual reality representations of the current site environment and simulations of what might be present after the intervention. Both static and user-navigable visualisations have been produced because these lend themselves to both paper and electronic publication. Comparisons between the alternative methods are presented along with a discussion of the technical, user, and institutional issues surrounding the potential application of the methodology. It is argued that the techniques presented have the potential to stimulate meaningful discussion during the consultation process, although further research is still required to determine the exact form this might take.
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