NOC: New Technology for Remotely Mapping Beaches

Science and industry will now be able to map beaches and sandbanks without getting any feet wet, according to the National Oceanography Centre (NOC).

This follows three years of collaborative research resulting in a new commercial licence between NOC and Marlan Maritime Technologies to sell new coastal mapping technology.

The depth and pattern of sediment on the floor of the intertidal zones changes daily, yet understanding where this sediment resides is vital to being able to better manage coastal areas.

For example, knowing how beach sediment movement is influenced by coastal protection measures could help inform how effective they are relative to the investment.

The improved understanding of long-term erosion could also benefit coastal town planning by monitoring areas at greater risk of coastal flooding.

Furthermore, the data can provide advance warning of sediment transport into navigation channels allowing more effective use of survey and dredging vessels; this helps maintain ports such as Liverpool.

Alex Sinclair, Managing Director of Marlan Maritime Technologies Ltd, said: “Working with NOC and the University of Liverpool for several years has been great and we are thrilled that the efforts of those involved have produced a genuinely beneficial service that is in demand by the maritime community. Protecting our coastal environment is important to us and this technology will make a real difference, not only around Liverpool but around the world.”

This technique makes use of rapidly deployable radar installations, enabling repeated collection of survey data every fortnight from one deployment.