Comparing UAS and Pole Photogrammetry for Monitoring Beach Erosion

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Virginia Tech

Sandy beaches are vulnerable to extreme erosion, especially during hurricanes and other extreme storms, as well as gradual seasonal erosion cycles. Left unchecked, coastal erosion can put people, homes, and other infrastructure at risk. To effectively manage beach resources, coastal managers must have a reliable means of surveying the beach to monitor erosion and accretion. Traditionally, these surveys have used standard ground-based survey methods, but advancements in remote sensing technology have given surveyors new tools to monitor erosion. Structure from Motion (SfM) photogrammetry presents an inexpensive, fast, and reliable method for routine beach surveying. Typically, SfM utilizes photos taken by unmanned aerial systems (UAS), but weather conditions and government regulations can make flying difficult or impossible, especially around crowded areas popular with beachgoers. Photos taken from a tall pole on a mobile platform can also be used for SfM, eliminated the challenges posed by weather and UAS regulations. This poster compares UAS SfM and “photogrammetry on a stick” (POAS) for monitoring beach erosion. Three surveys were conducted on a barrier Island in South Carolina, at monthly intervals, using both UAS SfM and POAS. Both techniques show promise, but POAS is more difficult to generate quality reconstructions from, while UAS provides a faster, smoother workflow.