ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2014, 3(1), 49-65; doi:10.3390/ijgi3010049
Article

Barrier Island Dynamics Using Mass Center Analysis: A New Way to Detect and Track Large-Scale Change

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Received: 30 November 2013; in revised form: 7 January 2014 / Accepted: 8 January 2014 / Published: 27 January 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coastal GIS)
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Abstract: A geographic information system (GIS) was used to introduce and test a new method for quantitatively characterizing topographic change. Borrowing from classic Newtonian mechanics, the concept of a body’s center of mass is applied to the geomorphic landscape, and the barrier island environment in particular, to evaluate the metric’s potential as a proxy for detecting, tracking and visualizing change. Two barrier islands along North Carolina’s Outer Banks are used to test this idea: Core Banks, uninhabited and largely-undeveloped, and Hatteras Island, altered by the presence of a protective dune system. Findings indicate that for Core Banks, the alongshore change in the center of mass is in accord with dominate littoral transport and wind conditions. Cross-shore change agrees with independent estimates for the island migration rates. This lends credence to our assertion that the mass center metric has the potential to be a viable proxy for describing wholesale barrier migration and would be a valuable addition to the already-established ocean shoreline and subaerial volume metrics. More research is, however, required to demonstrate efficacy.
Keywords: barrier islands; center of mass; geomorphology; geographic information systems (GISs); GRASS; QGIS
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

Paris, P.; Mitasova, H. Barrier Island Dynamics Using Mass Center Analysis: A New Way to Detect and Track Large-Scale Change. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2014, 3, 49-65.

AMA Style

Paris P, Mitasova H. Barrier Island Dynamics Using Mass Center Analysis: A New Way to Detect and Track Large-Scale Change. ISPRS International Journal of Geo-Information. 2014; 3(1):49-65.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Paris, Paul; Mitasova, Helena. 2014. "Barrier Island Dynamics Using Mass Center Analysis: A New Way to Detect and Track Large-Scale Change." ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 3, no. 1: 49-65.

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