Providing a baseline for future change for climate affected coastlines

Mr Mick Hawkins1

1Fugro Australia Marine Pty Ltd, Adelaide, Australia


Australia’s coastal communities require modern and integrated coastal management systems to ensure economic, social, environmental and population pressures are managed in a coherent and coordinated way. Government can drive policy to allow investment in comprehensive accurate datasets whilst leveraging more sophisticated analysis techniques to deliver better decisions and business intelligence for the coastal zone.

As seen in recent storms affecting the regions coastlines, coastal communities must understand and adapt to the stronger waves, winds and surges impacting the coastal environment. The first step in this understanding is the identification of risks to coastal populations and infrastructure. Remote sensing technology can be used to compile accurate, comprehensive baseline datasets across the coastline to better understand this dynamic environment.

Due to the nature of the seabed and associated coastline, mapping of these areas with conventional vessel mounted sonar systems is near to impossible. Utilisation of airborne lidar bathymetry (ALB) allows for large shallow bathymetric regions and the associated topography can be easily mapped, without risking damage to fragile marine habitats.

In 2019, Fugro conducted ALB surveys over the Gold Coast, and various South Pacific Islands. The survey objectives were to provide fundamental data to support the implementation of the coastal management reforms to deliver high resolution datasets of the coastal environment that will enable the governments to make better decision on workflows for future planning of coastal infrastructure and natural environments.

This presentation will review the technology and processes used to capture seamless topographic and bathymetric datasets.


Mr Hawkins is the Business Development Manager for Fugro Australia Marine Pty Ltd based in Adelaide Australia.

Mr Hawkins has a Masters of Hydrographic Science from the University of Southern Mississippi and is a Category-A certified hydrographer. Mr. Hawkins has over 18 years’ experience in hydrographic surveying, specializing in airborne lidar bathymetry.