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St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center

St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center > Coastal Change Hazards: Hurricanes and Extreme Storms

Coastal Change Hazards: Hurricanes and Extreme Storms

Aerial Photography

aerial photography crew gathers data following the landfall of a hurricane
Figure 1. USGS aerial photography crew gathers data following the landfall of a hurricane. [larger version]
Digital video and recording system used aboard aircraft during coastal oblique video and photography missions.
Figure 2. Digital video and recording system used aboard aircraft during coastal oblique video and photography missions. [larger version]
The USGS acquires video and still oblique aerial photography both before and after a hurricane's landfall (Figure 1) to help understand the impacts of extreme storms on coastal environments. (See Hurricanes Isabel and Ivan for examples of the photograph comparisons.) The images are also used to supplement the laser altimetry measurements of the coast by helping researchers to recognize geomorphic features impacted by storms and to document cultural features not easily recognizable in the topographic data.

The USGS digital photography is geo-referenced so that photograph locations can be easily plotted. Latitude/longitude coordinates from a Global Positioning System (GPS) are merged onto the video data to provide a constant location guide, input into the header of the digital still photography, and recorded separately as a meta-data file (Figure 2). Still photography is registered to the video data by a time stamp and GPS location. The photography can be uploaded quickly to the web to help provide assessments in the immediate aftermath of a storm. The compact digital video/digital photo system is adaptable and can be used on various platforms such as the NOAA Twin Otter, the Coast Guard H60 and H65 helicopters, and commercial King Air and Navajo Chieftain aircraft.

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St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center > Coastal Change Hazards: Hurricanes and Extreme Storms

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