Pilot Study to Evaluate Coastal Change Using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)

Fiscal Year: 
Project Leader: 
Research Partners: 
E. Robert Thieler (USGS Woods Hole); and David Remsen (Marine Biological Laboratories)
Science Themes: 
Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) are a new and relatively untapped resource for coastal surveying within the USGS and the scientific community, and offer a number of advantages over ground-based surveys and manned aerial systems, including the ability to rapidly deploy and efficiently collect remote sensing data and derive high-resolution elevations over variable terrain. The project provided a low-risk, low-cost means to explore the utility of UAS for coastal mapping on beaches and marshes, and developed methodology and capacity to acquire, process, and analyze data. The collaborative project brought together USGS scientists and technical staff, with Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) researchers and students, and supported both research and education through coursework including observational biodiversity and informatics, system design, and both field and laboratory collaboration.
Final Report: 

Lentz, E. Theiler, R.E. Remsen, D. (2017) "Pilot Study to Evaluate Coastal Change Using Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)"



Lentz, Erika E., E. Thieler Robert, Plant Nathaniel G., Stippa Sawyer R., Horton Radley M., and Gesch Dean B. 2016. Evaluation of dynamic coastal response to sea-level rise modifies inundation likelihood. Nature Climate Change

Sturdivant, E.J., Thieler, E.R., Lentz, E.E., Remsen, D.P., and Miner, S. 2017. Topographic, imagery, and raw data associated with unmanned aerial systems (UAS) flights over Black Beach, Falmouth, Massachusetts on 18 March 2016: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7KW5F04.

Sturdivant E, Lentz EE, Thieler R, Farris A, Weber K, Remsen D, Miner S, and Henderson R. 2017. UAS-SfM for Coastal Research: Geomorphic Feature Extraction and Land Cover Classification from High-Resolution Elevation and Optical Imagery, Remote Sensing, Jan-10-2017, Volume 9, Issue 10, p.1020