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Quadcopter, Camera and Software to Monitor Coastal Erosion

We are based in Wicklow Town near to the Murrough which is a piece of coastline directly to the North of Wicklow town. Recently a part of the Murrough has been undergoing rather alarming & incredibly fast erosion, differences in the shore line can be observed on a weekly basis. The erosion is occurring mostly at the end of some new rock armour that was quite recently placed to the North of Wicklow town.

Anyway I started to think about how an amateur could monitor the progress of the erosion and maybe plot time-laps type pictures as it progresses, I couldn’t think of any kind of cheap and accessible survey method that could be used to monitor the erosion until I thought of a quadcopter with a downward facing camera along with some offline computer vision software, here’s the kind of thing that I am thinking of:

1.) Fly a quadcopter on a pre-programmed route low over the area of erosion every few days (may need to fly a grid)

2.) Use a downward facing camera on the quadcopter to acquire images of the shore directly below

3.) Use some computer vision software (OpenGL based) to detect features and use them register the images in space to one another yielding a photo-mosaic for each flight.

4.) Use static features (like the rock armour) to register the photo-mosaics from one flight to another.

This may yield a photo-mosaic of the coast from each flight which can be spatially registered to one another (using static features). This could allow us to accurately monitor the erosion as a function of time in detail along this section of coast.

Now if only I had some spare time (oh and a quadcopter)….

#AndNowBackToWork