CoastSnap: a global citizen science project to monitor changing coastlines

Harley M1, Kinsela M2, Drummond C1

1UNSW Water Research Laboratory,

2NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (Science Division)

Abstract:

CoastSnap is a low-cost community beach monitoring technology that turns the smartphones found in most people’s pockets into powerful coastal monitoring devices.  At the heart of CoastSnap is a simple stainless steel smartphone cradle that is installed overlooking a beach in a location that is easily accessible by the public. Behind this simple idea however are sophisticated algorithms that enable survey data (e.g., shoreline position) to be mapped from community snapshots and track coastline change over time. First established on the Northern Beaches of Sydney in 2017 (in collaboration with the NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment), the CoastSnap network has now grown to encompass over 100 monitoring stations worldwide in 16 different countries. This talk will present an overview of CoastSnap and how it can be applied to coastal communities across Australia and beyond.


Biography:

Dr. Mitch Harley is a Scientia Senior Lecturer at the UNSW School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, specialising in coastal erosion and wave climatology. For the past 15 years, Mitch has been measuring how coastlines change in response to waves both large and small, including highlights such as the 2007 Pasha Bulker storm, the 2016 swimming pool storm and the most recent 2020 event. He is the manager of the historic Collaroy-Narrabeen beach monitoring program, which is one of the longest continuous records of beach change worldwide and celebrates its 44th anniversary next month. In 2017, Mitch founded Dr. Mitch Harley is a Scientia Fellow at the UNSW School of Civil and Environmental Engineering, specialising in coastal erosion and wave climatology. For the past 15 years, Mitch has been measuring how coastlines change in response to waves both large and small, including highlights such as the 2007 Pasha Bulker storm, the 2016 swimming pool storm and the most recent 2020 event. He is the manager of the historic Collaroy-Narrabeen beach monitoring program, which is one of the longest continuous records of beach change worldwide and celebrates its 45h anniversary this yeat. In 2017, Mitch founded CoastSnap, a citizen-science based beach monitoring approach that is now active in 16 countries and 6 continents. Mitch’s research has been published in some of  the leading scientific journals, including Nature Geoscience, the International Journal of Climatology and the Journal of Geophysical Research.