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CCRU logoCambridge Coastal Research Unit (CCRU)

Providing highest quality scientific research to underpin sustainable coastal management


Remote sensing applications in the coastal zone

Remote sensing applications in the coastal zone

Visualisation of vegetation productivity (based on 1994 CASI image, Hut Marsh, Scolt) (G.M Smith et. al 1999)
Visualisation of vegetation productivity

The CCRU has been involved in close collaboration with the Section for Earth Observation at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH), Monks Wood, UK, in applying remote sensing techniques to the monitoring and assessment of coastal processes and coastal change. A recent joint project used a combination of paper map, aerial photography and remotely-sensed source materials, to visualize (a) decadal scale patterns of barrier island extension; (b) inter-annual changes in intertidal and supratidal spit dynamics; and (c) intra-annual spatial variations in vegetation productivity of saltmarsh communities. Scientific visualisation, particularly through animation, has considerable potential for the better understanding of the complex space-time dynamics of coastal change. High spectral contrast and spectral stability in remotely-sensed imagery of indicator features in these environments and the need for only minimal abstraction aid the production of animation sequences. Other on-going projects include the use and development of casi (Compact Airborne Spectrographic Imager) and LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) applications to vegetation and sedimentation monitoring in the coastal zone.

As part of the EU-funded HySens Campaign, the CCRU has been involved, in collaboration with CEH, in developing approaches to the study of mudflat/saltmarsh stability in the Schelde Estuary, The Netherlands, using hyperspectral remote sensing techniques.