Coastal areas are among the most endangered places in the world, due to their exposure to both marine and terrestrial hazards. Coastal areas host more than two-thirds of the world’s population, and will become increasingly affected by global changes, in particular, rising sea levels. Monitoring and protecting the coastlines have impelled scientists to develop adequate tools and methods to spatially monitor morpho-sedimentary coastal areas. This paper presents the capabilities of the aerial drone, as an “all-in-one” technology, to drive accurate morpho-sedimentary investigations in 1D, 2D and 2.5D at very high resolution. Our results show that drone-related fine-resolution, high accuracies and point density outperform the state-of-the-science manned airborne passive and active methods for shoreline position tracking, digital elevation model as well as point cloud creation. We further discuss the reduced costs per acquisition campaign, the increased spatial and temporal resolution, and demonstrate the potentialities to carry out diachronic and volumetric analyses, bringing new perspectives for coastal scientists and managers.
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