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Morphological Exposure of Rocky Platforms: Filling the Hazard Gap Using UAVs

1
School of Life and Environmental Sciences, Deakin University, Burwood, VIC 3125, Australia
2
School of Earth, Atmospheric and Life Sciences, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Drones 2019, 3(2), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones3020042
Received: 3 April 2019 / Revised: 29 April 2019 / Accepted: 30 April 2019 / Published: 3 May 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Drones for Coastal Environments)
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Abstract

Rock platforms are dangerous environments commonly subject to high wave energy on the open coast. Platform morphology is central to understanding what makes one stretch of coastline more hazardous than another, and it can be used to create site-specific morphological exposure hazard indices to assess the relative risk of being washed into the sea, assisting coastal managers in an effort to reduce the number of injuries and drowning incidents. This paper describes the use of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) to derive morphological parameters for two data-poor rock platforms along the Illawarra coast of southern New South Wales, to fill the gap using an easily replicable site-specific hazard index, developed previously, that can be applied to other microtidal wave-dominated settings. The approach is based on the subdivision of the terrestrial seaward edge of platforms into segments, classified according to mean elevation, orientation and edge type, to model different weighting scenarios of predominant southeasterly and northeasterly wave direction. UAV-derived results were deemed satisfactory for all study sites, and a comparison of results derived from LiDAR for two platforms suggested that UAV data can be successfully used to guide risk policy on rock coasts, despite differences in the delimitation of the seaward edge due to tidal level during survey acquisition. View Full-Text
Keywords: fisher drownings; rock fishing; water safety; platform morphology; hazard index; drones; Illawarra fisher drownings; rock fishing; water safety; platform morphology; hazard index; drones; Illawarra
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Carvalho, R.C.; Woodroffe, C.D. Morphological Exposure of Rocky Platforms: Filling the Hazard Gap Using UAVs. Drones 2019, 3, 42.

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