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

Technology

NAVTOR, AWT Agreement Marks Next Step in E-navigation

NAVTOR has signed an agreement with maritime weather routing specialist Applied Weather Technology (AWT) that will see the two companies integrating their services

BCG Upgrades Virtual GMDSS Simulator

Buffalo Computer Graphics (BCG) Inc. released an updated version of its Virtual Global Maritime Distress and Safety System (VGMDSS) Simulation software. BCG’s VGMDSS

Australia, US Order Anti-ship Missile Decoys

Design of the next generation of anti-ship missile decoys is set to commence following the signing of two contracts between the Australian Defense Force and BAE Systems Australia Pty Ltd.

Environmental

NAVTOR, AWT Agreement Marks Next Step in E-navigation

NAVTOR has signed an agreement with maritime weather routing specialist Applied Weather Technology (AWT) that will see the two companies integrating their services

Emissions Scrubber Receives Class Approval

Langh Ship received final class approval from Germanischer Lloyd for its exhaust gas cleaning system on m/s Laura (pictured), a 1996-built a 6,500 DWT general cargo

‘Green’ Hybrid-powered Research Vessel Christened

The Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk christened a larger, “greener” new research vessel on Friday, September 26 in preparation for launching a new era in examining,

News

Livorsi Launches New Throttle Lineup

Livorsi Marine introduced the all new Platinum Series throttles, which they say are designed to be more ergonomically comfortable to the operator while being lighter

Henderson, Hanes & Associates Opens Doors in Miami

Ocean Engineering/ Naval Architecture Firm Brings Innovation to the Mega Yacht Community The Miami-based ocean engineering and naval architecture firm of Henderson & Associates, Inc.

Austal Launches Trenton (JHSV 5)

Second Joint High Speed Vessel to be launched at Austal in 2014 On September 30, 2014, Austal USA successfully completed the launch process of Trenton (JHSV

Marine Science

General Dynamics Bags $ 50 mi Submarine Contracts

General Dynamics Advanced Information Systems, a business unit of General Dynamics was awarded two contract modifications totaling $50 million to continue supporting

Swissco Doubles Rig Fleet

SGX Mainboard-listed Swissco Holdings Limited an integrated, international marine services provider, today announced having completed the acquisition of four additional mobile offshore drilling units,

General Dynamics takes Rudy deLeon on Board

The board of directors of General Dynamics has elected Rudy deLeon to be a director of the corporation, effective September 30, 2014. DeLeon is a senior

Coast Guard

USCG Cutter Rush Returns

The crew of Coast Guard Cutter Rush returned to its homeport following a successful 72-day deployment in the Central and Western Pacific, Monday. Rush departed

Coast Guard Investigating Fatal Boating Collision

The Coast Guard is investigating a fatal collision between a towboat and a pleasure craft near Cincinnati, Thursday evening. Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector

Coast Guard: Investigations Underway in Cutter Collision

The Coast Guard is conducting a series of formal investigations after Tuesday’s collision involving a Coast Guard cutter and a fishing vessel off the coast of Puerto Rico.

Government Update

Port City Plans for New Cargo Taxes Angers Kenya Govt, Shippers

Proposals by a local authority to impose new taxes on cargo at Kenya's main port has drawn opposition from the government and shippers, saying it will hike import

Cove Point LNG Export Facility Gets US FERC Approval

U.S. federal regulators on Monday approved construction of Dominion Resources Inc's liquefied natural gas export project in Cove Point, Maryland. Cove Point is the fourth U.

Port Firm Fined £650,000 for Health, Safety Breach

A port operator has today (Monday 29 September) pleaded guilty to health and safety breaches, following the deaths of three crew members of a tug which capsized on the River Clyde in 2007.

Surveyors

Industry Professionals to Speak at ShipConstructor Conference

The speakers representing various companies at next week's SSI Americas ShipConstructor User Conference, October 7-9, 2014 in Mobile, Alabama, demonstrate SSI's

Ocean Installer Awarded New Contract

Ocean Installer has been awarded a contract for SURF support work in Brazil for Saipem. The contract which will see the Normand Clipper in Brazil for 8 months is valued at circa USD 50 million,

ABS Awarded DoD Classification Contract Modification

The US Department of Defense informs that the American Bureau of Shipping, Houston, Texas, is being issued an $8,500,000 modification under a previously awarded

 
 
Maritime Careers / Shipboard Positions Maritime Contracts Maritime Security Maritime Standards Naval Architecture Navigation Offshore Oil Port Authority Shipbuilding / Vessel Construction 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: 0.2228 sec (4 req/sec)