Coastal bathymetry mapping

In clear, shallow waters, where the bottom is visible to several meter’s depth, it is possible to retrieve bathymetry from high resolution optical satellite data.  This is particularly helpful in regions that lack accurate sonar-based bathymetry data.  The accuracy of the retrieved bathymetry decreases with water depth, and cannot be reliably retrieved where the water is turbid as a result of plankton blooms, sediment in river run-off or re-suspension of sediments by currents and waves. 

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Shoreline mapping and change detection

Shoreline changes due coastal erosion or sediment deposition can be substantial in some areas - even over just a few years.  Satellite monitoring is a powerful technique for monitoring these changes. EO-derived coastline maps may be combined with tidal modelling to also yield crude bathymetric maps of the intertidal region.

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Benthic habitat mapping

Maps of the main benthic habitat types (macroalgae, live coral, seagrass beds, sand and other bare substrates) can be derived from high resolution satellite data, simultaneously with shallow water bathymetry. Maps may be produced without input from in situ surveys, but combining satellite data measurements from targeted surveys by local experts can improve accuracy.

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Coastal land cover change

Monitoring of land cover and associated changes in coastal areas is an important part of environmental protection. Land use and land use changes can have direct influence on coastal water quality. Sediment transport in rivers responds to soil erosion caused by land use changes in watersheds, and will be visible in coastal water quality.

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Water quality

Ocean colour products including chlorophyll-a concentration, suspended sediments and water clarity can be provided over a large region at 1km or 300m resolution. In selected regions higher resolution maps (down to 10 m) can be delivered for monitoring of suspended sediments or dense algal blooms.

Monitoring dredging activities

Dredging and other engineering work in coastal waters can have a large impact on water quality and sedimentology. Depending on the source, dredging materials can be contaminated with heavy metals and other organic or inorganic substances, which may adversely affect marine environments downstream of the dredging activity.

Blue Economy planning

The development of a country’s Blue Economy requires reliable environmental information in order to select optimal sites for new economic activities while minimising conflicts of interest with other economic sectors. This EO4SD service will advise on how to combine various EO-derived data products to meet the information needs of for planning and implementing specific Blue Economy projects.