Monitoring Toolbox

The Marine Debris Monitoring and Assessment Project, or MDMAP, engages NOAA partners and volunteers around the world to survey and record the amount and types of marine debris on shorelines. 


How big is the marine debris problem, and how is it changing over time? What types of debris are most common in your region? MDMAP survey data can help to answer these questions and can be used to guide marine debris policy development, provide education and outreach, and address important research questions. 


This Toolbox contains resources for both current and new MDMAP partner organizations and volunteers.


New to MDMAP and looking for steps to get started?

  1. Start by reviewing our tutorial series.
  2. Review the protocol documents and field datasheets in this toolbox.
  3. Decide if you want to survey an existing active site, rejuvenate a historical site, or start a new MDMAP site in your area. A map of all existing MDMAP sites can be found here.
  4. Request an account if you’ll be entering data. MDMAP staff will work with you to set up your account.
  5. Reach out to with any questions.
  6. Begin surveying!

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Start by viewing our tutorial series, available in English and Spanish. These four short training videos introduce participants to MDMAP and how to conduct a survey. Use them to get started, refresh your skills, or to train new team members. These videos complement the Shoreline Survey Guide and Item Categorization Guide, also found here.

Pie chart of marine debris categories.

Protocol Documents and Field Datasheets

Visit our collection of Protocol Documents and Field Datasheets for resources to help you complete a shoreline survey.

Pie chart of marine debris categories.

Enter Data

Create an account to enter data collected using the MDMAP method by clicking on Log in /Register.

Monitors marking debris and taking notes.

Explore Data

Explore data on MDMAP without logging in by clicking the “visualize” button and using the search bar to filter results. Download data by clicking the “export button.” Access documentation and the API by clicking ‘About MDMAP”.

Marine Debris monitoring coach instructing volunteers


Have a question about the MDMAP? Visit our Frequently Asked Questions page.

A volunteer graphs the results of marine debris surveys on a wall poster.

How Are MDMAP Data Used?

See examples of peer-reviewed publications, marine debris prevention projects, reports, and student projects that incorporate MDMAP data.