USGS iCoast – Did the Coast Change?

Posted by Michelle Howard
Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Hurricane season starts again this June. Do you know what happens to our coasts after these extreme storms? The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) has launched a new crowdsourcing application called “iCoast – Did the Coast Change?” to show you these coastal changes from extreme storms.

iCoast allows citizen scientists to identify changes to the coast by comparing aerial photographs taken before and after storms.

Crowdsourced data from iCoast will help USGS improve predictive models of coastal change and educate the public about the vulnerability of coastal communities to extreme storms.

Aerial Imagery of the Coast Before and After Storms
Since 1995, the USGS has collected more than 140,000 aerial photographs of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts after 24 hurricanes and other extreme storms. Just for Hurricane Sandy alone, more than 9,000 aerial photographs were taken a week after the storm.

USGS acquires high-resolution oblique aerial photography after extreme storms and compares them to imagery collected before the storms. These aerial photographs are taken at a low altitude to capture a small area of the coast. USGS collects aerial imagery to ground truth and improve the USGS coastal change probability models.

“Computers cannot yet automatically identify damages and geomorphic changes to the coast from the oblique aerial photographs,” said Sophia B. Liu, USGS Mendenhall Postdoc Fellow. “Human intelligence is still needed to finish the job.”

Without the personnel or capacity to analyze all the photographs taken after every storm, the USGS decided to launch a citizen science project, asking citizens to help identify changes to the coast while also gaining knowledge about coastal hazards.


USGS determines probabilities of hurricane-induced coastal change for the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of our Nation to better inform evacuation, response, preparedness, and mitigation efforts.


The Power of Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing
Analyzing the aerial photographs to identify storm damage will help coastal scientists refine their predictive models of coastal erosion and damage caused by extreme storms. Currently, these mathematical models are derived from dune elevation and predicted wave action during storms. Adding the human observations will allow the scientists to validate the models and to provide better predictions of damage before storms occur.

“After an event like Hurricane Sandy there is always a great interest in our photographs,” said Barbara Poore, USGS Research Geographer. “The USGS iCoast team hopes that people will learn about coastal change and about their personal vulnerabilities to extreme storms.”

Integrating Citizen Science into the Model
Research on storm-induced coastal change hazards provides the data and modeling capabilities to allow the USGS to identify areas of the U.S. coastline that are likely to experience extreme and potentially hazardous erosion during hurricanes or other extreme storms.

To assess coastal vulnerability to extreme storms, the USGS has developed a Storm-Impact Scale to produce Coastal Change Probability estimates.

Hurricane-induced water levels, due to both storm surge and waves, are compared to beach and dune elevations to determine the probabilities of these types of coastal change processes:
 

  •     Beach Erosion occurs when wave runup is confined to the beach.
  •     Dune Erosion occurs when the base or toe of the dune is eroded by waves and storm surge.
  •     Overwash occurs when sand is transported and deposited landward over the beach and dune by waves and storm surge.
  •     Inundation occurs when the beach and dune are completely and continuously submerged by storm surge and wave runup.


Benefits of the USGS iCoast Project
There are scientific, technological, and societal benefits to the iCoast project. The crowdsourced data from iCoast will enhance predictive modeling of coastal erosion to better inform emergency managers, planners, and residents of coastal vulnerabilities in their regions.

Citizen science projects like iCoast serve the cause of Open Government and Open Data, by sharing USGS aerial imagery with the public. iCoast can also be a great tool for marine science educators to create interactive and fun lessons related to coastal hazards.

Maritime Reporter June 2014 Digital Edition
FREE Maritime Reporter Subscription
Latest Maritime News    rss feeds

Technology

Globecomm to Provide VSAT for PBJV Barge

Purpose-built accommodation and pipe-lay barge on charter to Petronas equipped with VSAT and L-Band services. Globecomm Maritime has been awarded a contract

LiveCom Selects iDirect Evolution to Enable Global Expansion

iDirect Asia Pte Ltd today announced that LiveCom Limited (“LiveCom”), a Hong Kong based ISP, has selected Evolution as the platform to help enterprise and government

FLNG Prelude: A New Dawn in the Age of Maritime & Energy

Longer than four football fields, as big as six Nimitz-class aircraft carriers and almost as tall as the Taipei 101 skyscraper, Royal Dutch Shell PLC is hoping that its record-setting,

Environmental

Huge Waves Measured for First Time in Arctic Ocean

As the climate warms and sea ice retreats, the North is changing. An ice-covered expanse now has a season of increasingly open water which is predicted to extend

Company Fined for Oil Spill Near Anacortes

Ecology issues $112,500 penalty for sunken vessel.   American Gold Seafoods faces a $112,500 penalty for an oil spill caused by the accidental sinking of its vessel,

Unified Emissions Monitoring: Turbulo Bluemon

Last month at Posidonia SKF Blohm and Voss Industries launched the Turbulo BlueMon emission monitoring system, a system that is designed to record all emissions on board ships via a single system.

News

General Dynamics gets $25 mi GPS Contract from Lockheed Martin

General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics, was awarded a $25.4 million full-production contract from Lockheed Martin to support the U.

2 Post Panamax Cranes for Port Freeport Arrive

Port Freeport announced the arrival of their two Post Panamax Cranes. “The Gantry cranes departed from Shanghai, China on May 7th and arrived at Port Freeport on July 19th,

Huge Waves Measured for First Time in Arctic Ocean

As the climate warms and sea ice retreats, the North is changing. An ice-covered expanse now has a season of increasingly open water which is predicted to extend

Marine Science

Huge Waves Measured for First Time in Arctic Ocean

As the climate warms and sea ice retreats, the North is changing. An ice-covered expanse now has a season of increasingly open water which is predicted to extend

Search for Flight MH370: Update

Australia's Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) says that a bathymetric survey of the 60,000km2 search area is well underway, with two vessels, the Australian-contracted

ISS's Innovative Series of New Travel Apps for Cruise Industry

Inchcape Shipping Services (ISS) the world’s leading maritime services provider, has launched an innovative series of travel apps for the cruise industry in Greece,

Coast Guard

Charter Boat Crew Rescued in Gulf of Mexico

U.S. Coast Guard search and rescue crews worked throughout the night to find a missing charter boat with four people aboard as far as 70 miles off Galveston. A

Grounded Freighter Refloated in Lake St. Clair

The Federal Rideau, a 656-foot freighter that had been hard aground in the downbound shipping channel of Lake St. Clair since early Sunday morning, was refloated

USCG Assists Stranded Charter Vessel

U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) crews are assisting a disabled passenger vessel approximately 13 miles east of Nahant, Massachusetts, Monday. Watchstanders at Coast

Government Update

Iraq's Kurds Have Right to Sell Oil While Squeezed by Baghdad

Iraq's Kurdish region has the right to keep selling oil as long as the Baghdad government keeps cutting its budget, the head of the Kurdish parliament's energy committee said on Tuesday,

Russia, China May Develop Floating Nuclear Power Plants

Russia and the world's top energy user China may jointly develop six floating nuclear power plants (NPPs), Russia's nuclear export body said on Tuesday, a further

Update: U.S. to Seize Kurdish Oil from Tanker off Texas

U.S. authorities are set to seize a cargo of oil from Iraqi Kurdistan anchored off the Texas coast after a judge approved a request from Baghdad, raising the stakes

Ocean Observation

Huge Waves Measured for First Time in Arctic Ocean

As the climate warms and sea ice retreats, the North is changing. An ice-covered expanse now has a season of increasingly open water which is predicted to extend

Rosneft Starts Up Field Work in the Kara Sea

On July 24 this year, research vessel Geolog Dmitry Nalivkin sailed from Kirkenes (Norway) to the Kara Sea. In the next three months 2D seismic survey, will

Second Typhoon Threatens Taiwan

The Taiwan military was collecting and distributing sandbags to guard against possible flooding on Tuesday as a typhoon bore down on the island after brushing the Philippines.

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Naval Architecture Navigation Pipelines Port Authority Ship Electronics Ship Simulators Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction Sonar Winch
rss | archive | history | articles | privacy | terms and conditions | contributors | top maritime news | about us | copyright | maritime magazines
maritime security news | shipbuilding news | maritime industry | shipping news | maritime reporting | workboats news | ship design | maritime business

Time taken: 0.1271 sec (8 req/sec)