CoastSnap in Stonehaven: A community beach monitoring project

We’re excited to have launched the first instance of CoastSnap in Scotland in conjunction with Aberdeenshire Council. CoastSnap is an innovative low cost beach monitoring tool which allows members of the public to be actively involved in data collection.

What is CoastSnap?

Images are taken by members of the public from the same spot using the camera frame. These images are then submitted via email or Facebook, and over time changes in the coastline can be highlighted and documented. Beach environments are under a variety of pressures such as climate change and rising sea levels. By using this simple approach it is hoped a vast amount of information can be gained which ultimately provides knowledge for coastal planners and managers. We’re especially pleased that this example of a citizen science-based project has been shared in the national media.

A time-lapse video of how the coastline is evolving can be created.


Techniques can also be applied which allow features to be tracked and monitored through image rectification based on known ground control points (GCPs).  Rectified images can be projected on to a bird’s eye view  (x-y plane) where analysis techniques can be applied to track the shoreline contour.

Why Stonehaven?

Natural beaches form the first line of defence against high tides and stormy seas in many coastal towns all over the world. As sea levels are predicted to rise and storms get worse, understanding the behaviour of these natural systems has never been more important. In 2019 Aberdeenshire Council completed a study into the coastal flood and erosion risk within Stonehaven Bay. This CoastSnap initiative follows this and has been developed in partnership with ourselves with the aim of better understanding beach behaviour to support future management decisions. Here we will attempt to use these images to better understand the changes in the beach profile under varying wave conditions. CoastSnap is a global community with Stonehaven being the first in Scotland.

Want to know more?

CoastSnap LogoEmail Douglas Pender for more information about the CoastSnap project in Stonehaven. You can also follow CoastSnap Stonehaven on Twitter and on Facebook:


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