Automated Feature Extraction of Foredune Morphology from Terrestrial Lidar Data

Wednesday, 17 December 2014
Nicholas Spore1, Katherine L Brodie1 and Christy Swann2, (1)USACE-FRF, Kitty Hawk, NC, United States, (2)Texas A & M University, Geography, College Station, TX, United States
Foredune morphology is often described in storm impact prediction models using the elevation of the dune crest and dune toe and compared with maximum runup elevations to categorize the storm impact and predicted responses. However, these parameters do not account for other foredune features that may make them more or less erodible, such as alongshore variations in morphology, vegetation coverage, or compaction. The goal of this work is to identify other descriptive features that can be extracted from terrestrial lidar data that may affect the rate of dune erosion under wave attack. Daily, mobile-terrestrial lidar surveys were conducted during a 6-day nor’easter (Hs = 4 m in 6 m water depth) along 20km of coastline near Duck, North Carolina which encompassed a variety of foredune forms in close proximity to each other. This abstract will focus on the tools developed for the automated extraction of the morphological features from terrestrial lidar data, while the response of the dune will be presented by Brodie and Spore as an accompanying abstract.

Raw point cloud data can be dense and is often under-utilized due to time and personnel constraints required for analysis, since many algorithms are not fully automated. In our approach, the point cloud is first projected into a local coordinate system aligned with the coastline, and then bare earth points are interpolated onto a rectilinear 0.5 m grid creating a high resolution digital elevation model. The surface is analyzed by identifying features along each cross-shore transect. Surface curvature is used to identify the position of the dune toe, and then beach and berm morphology is extracted shoreward of the dune toe, and foredune morphology is extracted landward of the dune toe. Changes in, and magnitudes of, cross-shore slope, curvature, and surface roughness are used to describe the foredune face and each cross-shore transect is then classified using its pre-storm morphology for storm-response analysis.