Coastal Monitoring: A New Approach


  • Sarah M. Kandrot Geography Department, University College Cork



coastal monitoring, terrestrial laser scanning, coastal sand dunes


Monitoring changes in the morphology of coastal environments is important for understanding how they function as systems and how they can be most effectively managed to offer maximum protection of the coastal hinterland. The quick, precise, and efficient method of topographic data capture associated with a remote sensing (RS) technology called terrestrial laser scanning (TLS), also known as ground-based Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR), facilitates improved monitoring of morphological changes to coastal environments over traditional survey methods. Terrestrial laser scanning systems are capable of providing extremely detailed 3-dimensional topographic information in the form of a “point cloud” – a densely packed collection of x,y,z coordinates that collectively represent the external surface (often the ground) of a surveyed area. Such detailed elevation information is useful for coastal research, resource management and planning, hazard and risk assessment, and evaluating the impacts of climate change and sea-level rise on the coast. This paper introduces TLS and its applications in a coastal setting and addresses some of the challenges associated with its use as a monitoring tool in vegetated coastal dune environments. Such challenges include optimising time spent in the field, working with large datasets, classifying simple and complex scenes, and analysing multi-temporal datasets.


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