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Port Phillip Bay Aerial Survey

Using drones to create digital terrain models.

  • Victoria, Australia

    Victoria, Australia

Beach surveys were completed for 16 priority beaches using a drone with survey ground control for aerial imagery and digital terrain models

The beaches of Port Phillip are high-value assets. They provide recreation, tourism, benefits to local businesses, and they support ecological, environmental, and cultural heritage values. Therefore, monitoring and active management of these areas is needed to maintain their integrity.

Looking for expertise in assessment of the beaches, Victoria’s Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) contracted with us to build a knowledge base. We reviewed existing beach priority reports criteria to make sure they align with current best-practice, prepared a preliminary list of priority beaches, participated in stakeholder engagement, reviewed technical approaches to beach renourishment activities, and conducted a technical assessment of beach condition—including aerial survey using an unmanned aerial system (UAS), or drone.

A network of ground control points along the beach to allow for calibration and quality checks of the UAS. Information gathered from multiple UAS flights, as well as on the ground surveys, provided information on changing conditions of the beaches. The resulting digital elevation model was used to assess approximate volumes of sand required to renourish each beach.

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