Casella, Elisa, Drechsel, Jan, Winter, Christian, Benninghoff, Markus and Rovere, Alessio (2020) Accuracy of sand beach topography surveying by drones and photogrammetry. Geo-Marine Letters, 40 . pp. 255-268. DOI

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Beaches are characterized by high morphodynamic activity, and high-frequency measurements are needed to understand their states and rates of change. Ideally, beach survey methods should be at once accurate, rapid and low-cost. Recently, unmanned aerial systems (drones) have been increasingly utilized to measure beach topography. In this paper, we present a review of the state of art in drones and photogrammetry for beach surveys and the respective achieved measurement quality (where reported). We then show how drones with a minimal configuration and a low-cost setup can meet the high accuracy and rapidity required for beach surveys. To test a minimal drone and ground control point configuration, we used consumer-grade equipment to perform the same flight path with different cameras and at different altitudes. We then used photogrammetry to produce digital elevation models of the beach. Using a GNSS-RTK system, we collected 2950 independent control points to evaluate the accuracy of the digital elevation models. Results show that, once a few potential sources of uncertainties in the final digital elevation model are taken into account, the average RMSE(z) of the digital elevation models was ~5 cm, with a survey efficiency of ca. 3 m2 min−1. Digital elevation models taken at different times were used to calculate the before–after sediment budget following a storm that hit a sandy coast in Sylt Island at the German North Sea coast.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: PA2
Research affiliation: Biogeochemistry and Geology
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
ISSN: 0276-0460
Date Deposited: 27 Jan 2020 10:50
Last Modified: 24 Nov 2021 12:51

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