Winner - Innovative Citizen Science

VCMP Citizen Science Drone Program

Citizen Scientists, Deakin University, University of Melbourne, DELWP

VCMP Citizen Science Drone Program website

Victorian beaches are dynamic landform systems which change as they interact with waves breaking on the shore. Where this erosion impacts on beach access, amenity and the safety of coastal communities, it is necessary to understand these changes to inform how the beach might be managed.

The Citizen-Science Drones for Coastal Climate Change Resilience has been monitoring beaches, collecting data and contributing to coastal management and planning in sites across Victoria. A partnership between Deakin University, the University of Melbourne and Department of Environment Land Water and Planning, in collaboration with volunteer groups across the state, mobilises citizen scientists to conduct drone surveys at their local beaches.

Groups are provided with drones and training in monitoring beach changes, and in doing so empower participants to act as stewards of the environment. The drone videos are used to produce high resolution 3D modelling of coastal erosion. The modelling provides managers, researchers and consultants with survey grade data to inform local coastal hazard assessments, and the development of policies and measures for managing erosion.

Predicting the impact of storms on beaches and recognising changes in beach profile is difficult, and traditional methods are expensive. Citizen-science drone surveys are not only cost-effective but faster, providing a rapid survey of the state of the beach. 3D modelling and data can demonstrate the changes in beaches, showing where sand has been lost. These outputs help community groups to understand what is happening in their local area, and also extend education and awareness more widely in the community.

Page last updated: 20/11/20