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Apple Lidar Used to Map Geomorphic Change

image of beach survey Apple lidar

Sandy beach and foredune environments are common throughout coastlines globally. Coastal landscapes are dynamic and vulnerable to water level fluctuations, storm events, and human disturbances. Standard methods for measuring geomorphic changes include small-unoccupied aircraft systems paired with structure-from-motion photogrammetry (sUAS-SfM), but this can be costly and logistically challenging. We evaluated the accuracy of Apple lidar in comparison to high precision sUAS-SfM and RTK-GPS to map sandy beach and foredune geomorphic change.

Research paper in Nature by Brendan M. Burchi et al.

Checkpoint elevations were measured via RTK-GPS and both the sUAS-SfM and Apple lidar surveyed elevations were compared against these checkpoints to evaluate the performance of both methods for measuring elevations.

The sUAS-SfM elevation data were on average around 0.004 m above/below the checkpoint elevations while the Apple Lidar elevations were around 0.039 m. Apple lidar and sUAS-SfM-derived volumetric measurements and spatial patterns of erosion and accretion were compared to evaluate the Apple lidar’s ability to detect geomorphic change over time.

The geomorphic changes documented from these two methods were similar though the Apple lidar appeared to capture finer-scale erosion and accretion patterns. Our findings indicate that the Apple lidar can capture sandy beach and foredune geomorphic changes rapidly and accurately, which can promote proactive and resilient coastal management.

Sandy beaches and foredunes are found throughout the world and are critically important systems from ecological and economic perspectives1. About one third of the world’s ice-free shorelines are comprised of sandy beaches and foredunes2. These landforms are a management priority for local, state, and federal decisionmakers. Proactive and successful management requires high-quality and timely data on coastal change3,4,5 which can be challenging to acquire given the dynamic nature of beach and foredune systems.

For the complete article CLICK HERE.

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