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West-Central Florida Coastal Studies Project

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Applications of Video Monitoring

Video Monitoring: Introduction | Technical Description | Applications | Upham Beach Photos

One application for the video system is the monitoring of the shoreline. An algorithm may be written to inspect an image for the transition between the intensity of sand and the intensity of water. The geometric transformation may then be used to compute the location of the shoreline in the beach reference frame. The correlation between this shoreline and a physically-meaningful definition of the shoreline is as yet unknown. This relationship must be established using ground-truth surveys of the beach. The influence of tides on the shoreline may be accounted for using a simple tide prediction model. Once the video technique has been calibrated in this way, we may estimate the erosion and/or accretion of the beach over time. We may then examine the relationship between shoreline erosion and other time series such as wind speed and wave energy. These additional time series will soon be available for a station near Egmont Key, about 15 km to the south of Upham Beach. This analysis will allow us to test the hypothesis that erosion and accretion occur primarily during events of high wave energy, i.e. storms and swells. As a preliminary result, we have selected shorelines by eye for each month between November 96 and April 97, as shown in Figure 1. Shoreline erosion along transect A shown in Figure is estimated at 20 m.

Another application is the monitoring of offshore bars. We expect that these would appear as areas brighter than the surrounding ocean. Bars may appear brighter due to either reflection of light from the sand forming them or from the breaking of waves over them. A simple algorithm could be designed to search for these features. Bathymetric surveys may be required to verify this algorithm. We may also investigate the propagation direction of breaking waves. The propagation direction is interesting because it relates to the formation of longshore currents (see e.g. Bowen [1969]). A thorough investigation of this quantity is likely to require more than one image per hour, as in the current configuration. This configuration is easily modified to suit our needs.


  • Bowen, A.J.; The Generation of Longshore Currents on a Plane Beach; J. Mar. Res., v27, May 1969.

Coastal & Marine Geology Program > St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center > West-Central Florida Coastal Studies Project U. S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
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Updated May 06, 2013 @ 09:24 AM  (JSS)