The MAPTIP (marine aerosol properties and thermal imager performance) experiment was organized as part of a project to assess atmospheric effects on the detection and identification of targets using thermal imagers in coastal areas. The experiment took place at the North Sea from 11 October - 5 November 1993 and was centered around Meetpost Noordwijk, a research tower at 9 km from the Dutch coast. Platforms included a beach station, ship, research airplane, P3 Orion, helicopter and three buoys. The objectives were centered around the characterization of the atmosphere (aerosols, extinction, turbulence, refractivity, and the vertical and horizontal variations of the relevant meteorological parameters), in combination with detailed measurements of optical and IR effects using thermal imagers, visual cameras, transmissiometers and visibility meters. Detection ranges of various targets were determined and IR properties of extended targets were continuously monitored using radiometers. Extensive studies were made on polarization effects, backgrounds and effects of sun glint. An overview of the experimental efforts and the ensuing analysis and modeling studies are presented. MAPTIP was the first validation of some recently developed atmospheric propagation models, including aerosol models, in a coastal environment. MAPTIP has yielded a wealth of data for the development of advanced aerosol models, description of horizontal variability, improvement of point target detection algorithms, validation of detection range models, and EOTDA validation.