Future of monitoring region’s beaches is up in the air

UVic students use kites and balloons to measure erosion

Geography students from the University of Victoria reel in a balloon used to conduct aerial photography at Cadboro Bay beach on Monday. A new course is teaching students to use camera-equipped balloons and kites to survey and create 3D maps of coastal systems.

A new geography course at the University of Victoria is testing students’ kite-flying skills to monitor the state of beaches across Greater Victoria.

Fourth-year undergraduate students from UVic’s Advanced Studies in Geomorphology – the study of the earth’s physical features and their relation to its geological structures – started a new project this week, using kites and balloons with cameras to survey the beach at Cadboro Bay on a rainy Monday afternoon.

Co-developed by instructor and PhD candidate Michael Grilliot and geography professor Ian Walker, the course combines low-altitude aerial photography with Lidar – a form of radar that uses lasers to measure distance – to construct virtual, 3D maps of coastal systems.

“The Lidar creates 3D surfaces from a bunch of points and with the cameras, we can use the overlap from those photos to create a 3D structure,” said Grilliot.

Over the next three months, students will conduct group projects, monitoring the state of beaches all over Vancouver Island using techniques learned from the course.

“The groups are all focusing on different areas,” said Grilliot. “One of the groups is focusing on the Dallas Road bluffs, so they’re looking at historical aerial photography to determine where the shoreline is and where it’s been. They’re going to collect their own data and see if they can use these technologies to detect change and erosion on the beach.”

According to Grilliot, the course gives students hands-on experience working with these technologies, allowing them to develop valuable skills that they can carry into the workforce.

“Our goal is to provide the students with the ability to use these technologies,” he said. “That way they can take that knowledge with them to either grad school or consulting agencies or government agencies, and that will give them a foot in the door.”

Grilliot said the long-term plan for the course is for future students to continue monitoring the state of local beaches after former students graduate, eventually building up many years of valuable geographical data that can be shared with local municipalities and other groups.

“We’re just giving students a great opportunity to use these technologies, even in the rain,” said Grilliot. “We’re geography students, so we can handle it.”

 

Just Posted

Celebrate 50 years of David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’ and the Apollo 11 moonlanding

‘Ground control to Major Tom’ the countdown is on the 50th anniverary of the moon landing

Over 200 lives saved in first year at Victoria’s supervised consumption site

The Harbour celebrates its first anniversary with a report of zero deaths on site

Views, brews and food on Gulf Islands craft beer cruise

Five day cruise from Sidney to Gulf Islands, includes chef and beer historian

Saanich Mayor says ‘no costs asked of municipality’ for proposed film studio

Mayor Fred Haynes made that comment after questions from watchdog group

RCMP confirm foul play in death of 60-year-old Metchosin man

Police believe crime an isolated incident

VIDEO: Dashcam video captures moment Victoria cyclist struck

Police seeking cyclist captured in video

UPDATE: Youth seen with gun at Nanaimo mall, suspect now in custody

Woodgrove Centre shut down during police incident

B.C. man dies from rabies after contact with Vancouver Island bat

Last known case of human rabies in B.C. was 16 years ago

Crown recommends up to two-year jail term for former Bountiful leader

Crown says sentence range should be 18 months to two years for Bountiful child removal case

VIDEO: Wolf spotted swimming ashore on northern Vancouver Island

Island wolf population estimated at under 150 in 2008, says VI-Wilds

Diversity a Canadian strength, Trudeau says of Trump tweets at congresswomen

Trudeau avoided using Trump’s name when he was asked about the president’s Twitter comments

Garneau ‘disappointed’ in airlines’ move against new passenger bill of rights

New rules codified compensation for lost luggage, overbooked flights

Canadian is detained in China on drug allegations: Chinese government

Detention of a Canadian in China comes as part a diplomatic dispute triggered by arrest of Huawei exec Meng Wanzhou

Rare white ravens spotted again in mid-Island

Nature photographer Mike Yip said mysterious birds back in Coombs area

Most Read