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A robust surface matching technique for coastal geohazard assessment and management

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Pauline Miller, Professor Jon MillsORCiD, Professor Stuart Edwards


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Coastal change is a major issue in many regions of the world, and is often driven by geohazard processes such as landslides and rockfalls. Effective assessment of such phenomena is essential for successful management of coastal ecosystems, and is often reliant on GIS-based analysis. However, while it is crucial that multi-temporal datasets can be accurately registered to a common reference system, traditionally, the dynamic nature of the coastal environment has hampered this process. This paper presents a robust surface matching technique which overcomes the requirement for physical control points, and instead derives control directly from the DEM surfaces. Although surface matching procedures are well established, performance can be sub-optimal where the surfaces contain regions of difference, such as those associated with geohazard activity or vegetation effects. The crucial aspect of the least squares matching approach developed here, is the incorporation of a robust estimation function which allows the effects of surface discrepancies to be mitigated through outlier handling. Aerial photogrammetry is an established technique for coastal monitoring, and extensive archival collections exist. However, archival datasets are particularly affected by the difficulties associated with acquisition of ground control. Conversely, the maturing technique of airborne laser scanning is less influenced by such problems, and instead is capable of producing a high quality representation of coastal terrain. This paper describes the application of the robust surface matching technique to test sites located on the east coast of England. Photogrammetric DEMs are approximately oriented, before being matched to control surfaces derived from higher order datasets, including airborne laser scanning DEMs. The robust matching algorithm is shown to produce significantly improved results over ordinary surface matching. Analysis indicates the effectiveness of this technique for exploitation of archival datasets, revealing a signature of extensive geohazard activity over the twenty-five year study period. Robust matching of airborne laser scanning datasets has also enabled the quantification of short-term geohazard activity, demonstrating the flexibility of this strategy. © 2008 International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Inc. (ISPRS).

Publication metadata

Author(s): Miller PE, Mills JP, Edwards S, Bryan P, Marsh S, Mitchell H, Hobbs P

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing

Year: 2008

Volume: 63

Issue: 5

Pages: 529-542

Print publication date: 01/09/2008

ISSN (print): 0924-2716

ISSN (electronic): 1872-8235

Publisher: Elsevier BV


DOI: 10.1016/j.isprsjprs.2008.02.003


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Funder referenceFunder name
English Heritage, the British Geological Survey
EP/P500370/1Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council