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Emerging Unmanned Aerial Remote Sensing System for Intertidal Zone Modeling: A Low-Cost Method of Collecting Remote Sensing Data for Modeling Short-Term Effects of Sea Level Rise, Part I: Raising Awareness

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One of the greatest challenges coastal regions of the world face is the threat of the rising sea. Current geospatial models of coastal areas at risk of inundation by sea level rise typically depict a 50-year timescale as data accurate enough to support shorter term predictions are lacking. We hypothesize that a geodetic-grade digital elevation model (DEM) of the intertidal zone overlaid onto a high precision model of the mean high water (MHW) tidal datum will allow for mapping the mean high-water line (MHWL) at an accuracy of less than 40 mm. This level of accuracy will allow the effects of sea level rise on property boundaries and infrastructure to be determined on a 20-year timescale. The focus of this paper is on the need for geodetic-grade elevation data and densely spaced tide level measurements for intertidal zone modeling. This level of detail is needed when mapping the MHWL; we demonstrate that existing data are insufficient to provide such detail. We demonstrate the potential for acquisition of elevation data necessary to produce such intertidal zone DEM with a remote sensing system carried by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: September 1, 2010

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