Seabed mapping to inform coastal erosion hazard assessment in NSW

Mr Dave Hanslow1, Dr Michael Kinsela1, Dr  Tim Ingleton1, Dr Michelle Linklater1, Dr Bradley Morris1, Mr Michael  Sutherland1

1Nsw Department Of Planning, Industry And Environment, Newcastle, Australia


High resolution seabed mapping is critical to underpin coastal and marine management. In this paper we outline the sea bed mapping program being undertaken by the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment Coastal and Marine Science team which aims to provide data to support coastal hazard assessments. The program combines statewide statewide marine LiDAR with targeted multibeam mapping of deep waters to deliver detailed data which provide unprecedented detail of the distribution and character of hard (rock reef) and soft (sediment) substrates as well as accurate coastal bathymetry.

The slope, shape and substrate of the coastal seabed is an important part of the coastal sediment balance and influence on ocean waves that impact the coast. The response of beaches to severe storms, wave climate variability and sea-level rise is dependent on the character of the adjacent coastal seabed. The new data provides necessary detail for applying sediment compartment concepts to coastal hazard assessment in practice, enabling new approaches for investigating coastal evolution and coastal hazard impacts.

This paper will describe the survey data collection and processing techniques and showcase new high-resolution seabed mapping along the NSW coast. Examples will be given on how the mapping data can be applied to investigate coastal dynamics and coastal hazards.


Dave is the leader of the coastal and marine science team withing the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment. He has over 30 years of experience working in coastal management and has a particular interest in risk management.