Thesis: Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR)

Sample Thesis Paper

LIDAR is an emerging mapping technology that is increasingly used for monitoring coastal zone changes. These systems are used to create high-resolution, spatially dense topographic data and their applications range from visualising accurately man-made structures such as buildings and bridges to analyzing terrain in coastlines. Date collection is achieved with aircraft-mounted lasers measuring elevation data above terrain. LIDAR technology coupled with GPS systems make it possible to monitor topography and shoreline positions, thereby allowing the fast and accurate completion of large area topographic surveys.
This method is relatively quick and has the advantage of providing data at 1-2m spatial resolution and 15-20cm vertical accuracy (Saye et al 2005), whereas it can also been applied to the study of bathymetry. White and Wang (2003) evaluated the usefulness of laser altimetry in monitoring morphologic change that occurred at a 70km coastline in North Carolina coastline between 1997 and 2000. Their study concluded that Digital Elevation Model (DEM) data derived from LIDAR sensors identified changes in the coastlineā€™s morphology, providing a quick and cost effective means of assessing shoreline erosion in the studied area. Saye et al (2005) used LIDAR technology to investigate the relationship between beach morphology, dune morphology and erosion at five dune systems in England and Wales. This study demonstrated that LIDAR methods can effectively and accurately provide topographic data and monitor and predict erosion and accretion trends in beaches and dunes, but the accuracy of this technique is reduced in areas covered by standing water, grass or vegetation. Similar findings Woolard and Colby (2002) have been reported in the assessment of volumetric change of coastal dunes in Cape Hatteras, North Carolina using LIDAR technology. The authors concluded that accurate volumetric change measurements of coastal dunes can be achieved using 1-2m resolution.

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