Florida and US East Coast Beach Change Metrics Derived from LiDAR Data Utilizing ArcGIS Python Based Tools
The geographic area that the Joint Airborne LiDAR Bathymetry Technical Center of Expertise (JALBTCX) covers with their Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) program allows for researchers to quantify coastal metrics on national, regional and local scales. As these studies progressed, it has become apparent that software needs to be developed to quantify coastal change from LiDAR at multiple scales. The purpose of this research is to provide coastal managers with quantities and locations of change that occurred on eastern US coastlines, and if the researcher would like additional information, provide the tools necessary for additional metrics to be quantified and additional questions to be answered.
JALBTCX LiDAR data were delivered as 1332 filtered surfaces in standard US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) 5 km blocks from the Maine coastline to the Florida/Alabama border. Multiple processing steps and custom conversion tools were written in Python and incorporated into the ArcGIS software environment via ESRI’s ArcToolbox. Coastal metrics for almost 3300 km of coastline were quantified between two time periods in this study. Metrics included shoreline change, volume change, subaerial volume change and above mean high water volume change.
The JALBTCX toolbox allows for multiple coastal metrics to be extracted and directly compared. Maine, Maryland and Florida east coast are examples of areas with landward shoreline migration and positive subaerial volume. Volume change and above MHW volume change should be the utilized metrics when data sets with gaps at the shoreline elevation limited quantifications for shoreline and subaerial volume change.
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