Accurate Shoreline Mapping: Past, Present, and Future

by Robert A. Morton, Univ of Texas at Austin, Austin, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Sediments


Mapping historical shoreline changes and predicting future shoreline positions requires both accurate and precise analyses of time-dependent fluctuations in water levels and sediment volumes near the coast. Currently accurate predictions are limited by the few samples (shoreline positions) used to determine long-term trends, the unqualified inclusion of all shoreline positions in the analysis, and the use of simple statistics to characterize complex shoreline movement. Shoreline mapping techniques have evolved from ground-based surveys, to air-based photographs, to space-based satellite images of earth. Future shoreline monitoring will employ collection of sea-based water levels and land-based beach profiles integrated with space-based shoreline images. As resolution and thematic mapping technology improve, nearly continuous three-dimensional nearshore monitoring may be possible using digital satellite data. Until these technological advances are achieved, improvements in mapping accuracy and prediction will focus on resolving unpredictable short-term variability and unexpected alterations to the natural system by human activities.

Subject Headings: Shoreline protection | Mapping | Aerial photography | Water level | Sediment | Statistics | Beaches | Time dependence

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