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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

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


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.


EnviroDrones Conference at Dartmouth College, June 4 and 5, 2017. UAS-SfM improves geomorphic feature extraction and land cover classification for coastal vulnerability assessments, Sturdivant. 

Northeast Climate Adaptation Science Center, April 27, 2016, "A Research and Decision Support Framework to Evaluate Coastal Landscape Change", Erika Lentz.