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.
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