HiSea Project reveals in scientific article new methodology for shoreline detection

The EU-funded HiSea Project published recently an article offering a new way of researching shoreline trends using satellite images.

The paper, entitled “Remote Sensing-Based Automatic Detection of Shoreline Position: A Case Study in Apulia Region”, by Anna Spinosa, Alex Ziemba, Alessandra Saponieri, Leonardo Damiani and HiSea project coordinator Prof. Ghada El Serafy, was published on 26 May 2021 in the Journal of Marine Science and Engineering.

Based on research funded through HiSea, the paper “presents a new methodology for shoreline detection, based on edge detection techniques of preprocessed SAR images”, the authors noted, using the abbreviation for satellite images produced using synthetic aperture radar (SAR).

Torre Canne location along Apulia region in the southern of Italy

Long-term variability of shoreline trends is widely used in risk management and planning activities on coastal areas and represents one of the most used indicators when accounting for assessing defense strategies for preventing beach erosion or flooding,” the team noted, in explanation of the importance of the research. “In such a context, the availability of data with high both temporal and spatial resolution is crucial.”

The new method “could allow for effective and timely monitoring of long-term changes of coastal area, supporting decision-makers and administrations to manage defense interventions against beach erosion and flooding,” the researchers stressed.

The procedure developed uses images are freely available from the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Copernicus program to identify the precise boundary between land and water, the researchers noted.

“When compared to the outcomes from in situ and monitoring programs, the obtained shorelines provide reliable results given the special resolution of the satellite date. Moreover, in the case of calm sea and high contrast in the imagery, the method shows good performances in detecting shoreline from aerial images,” they explained.

Today’s rapidly developing technologies allow researchers to rethink existing methods that have served for generations. “Shoreline detection from satellite images could represent a valid alternative to the traditional field survey. The detection method proposed in the present work has the advantage of using freely-available SAR images which are processed automatically to retrieve shoreline position,” the researchers said.