Child pages
  • Product Sheet: Coastal Monitoring

Coastline Monitoring


Coastal monitoring, Santa Catarina, Sao Tome 2010 (GeoVille/WorldBank)



Component products

Land Cover

Land Use


  • N/A



  • Environmental monitoring – Baseline historic mapping of environment and ecosystems
    Environmental monitoring – Continuous monitoring of changes throughout the lifecycle
  • Environmental monitoring – Natural hazard risk analysis
  • Logistics planning and operations – Facility siting, pipeline routing and roads development

Geo-information requirements

  • Critical habitat identification
  • Detailed land cover information
  • Detailed land use information


This product delivers shoreline or coastline status and change maps based on optical satellite imagery. The term coastline is used to describe the general outline of the sea coast (extracted from medium to low resolution satellite images), whilst shoreline is the term used to describe a more detailed and tidal influenced measure of the sea coast (extracted from very high and high resolution satellite images). While the shoreline can be directly measured from satellite imagery, the coastline identification requires additional data on geology and topography. Both can be retrieved for a single date or for a longer period, showing a status or a change.

This product delivers PDF maps or vector digital files that delineate and identify:

  • Coastline / shoreline as a vector
  • Coastal changes as vector or raster files.
  • Land cover or land use of the littoral zone including anthropogenic coastal structures (buildings, dykes, piers, harbours, etc.) and coastal habitats (e.g. mangroves, dunes, cliffs)

Known restrictions / limitations

This product is derived from optical satellite data. If the mapping area is situated in the inner tropics cloud coverages can prevent cloud free data acquisitions. In these cases radar data can be used as a substitute.

Lifecycle stage and demand











Pre-Licensing & Exploration:

  • The dynamics of the coastline and coastal erosion rates need to be determined, e.g. as part of an environmental survey.

Development & Production:

  • As a consequence of sedimentation and erosion, the integrity of assets close to or on the coastline can be threatened. Thus, assets need to be positioned and protected appropriately to ensure they remain operational for the entirety of their design life (and probably beyond). Although operations may impact these coastal processes, using historical mapping to identify the previous rate and type of change is really important.
  • Baseline environmental assessment of coastal areas and ecosystems to avoid critical habitat or implement appropriate mitigations.
  • Compliance monitoring for any ongoing effects of production activities on coastal areas.

Geographic coverage and demand

Demand and coverage is globally at coastal regions.


OTM:030 Ecosystem valuation of potential site

OTM:031 Creating an ecosystem inventory prior to exploration

OTM:032 Detecting ecosystem damages

OTM:033 Mapping of environmental degradation (change)

OTM:067 Change detection of coastline migration


HC:4204 Map coastal habitat and built environment/settlement sensitivity to strengthen tactical oil spill response and preparedness

HC:4307 Coastal elevation data for tsunami risk analysis

HC:5307 Assess coastal environment for infrastructure planning


Input data sources

Optical: VHR1, VHR2, HR1, HR2

Radar: VHR1, VHR2, HR1, HR2 (data supporting optical or solely use in case of unavailability of optical data)

Supporting data:

  • Existing land cover and in-situ information for calibration and validation (e.g. water gauge measurements)

Spatial resolution and coverage

Spatial resolution:   

< 5m (shoreline and detailed land cover / use mapping)

> 5m (coastline and less detailed land cover / use mapping)

Minimum Mapping Unit (MMU)

Minimum mapping unit (MMU) is depending on the used input data. For optical satellite data with 0.5 m spatial resolution this can be for example a MMU of 9 m² for some classes like buildings.

Accuracy / constraints

Thematic accuracy: 80-90%

Spatial accuracy: The goal would be one pixel, but depends on reference data

Accuracy assessment approach & quality control measures

Stratified random points sampling approach utilizing VHR reference or other geospatial in-situ data. Statistical confusion matrix with user’s, producer’s accuracy and kappa statistics for land cover. In-situ measurements.

Frequency / timeliness

Observation frequency: The frequency is constrained by satellite revisit and acquisition, but also processing requirements. Depending on the requirements of the customer the best suitable satellite sensor has to be chosen considering spatial / spectral resolution as well as revisit frequency and timeliness. Most of the time, long-term changes are detected in intervals of circa 10 years or longer.

Timeliness of deliverable: In case of a hazard event the timeliness is driven by the satellite sensor used as well as scale of mapping and mapped area. An average coastal zone of 60 km length can be produced and delivered within a day.


Freely available or commercially acquired depending on the sensor selected.

Delivery / output format

Data type:

  • Vector formats
  • Raster formats (depending on customer needs)

File format:

  • Geotiff or shapefile (standard - any other OGC standard file formats)


 Download product sheet.


Lead Author:GeoVille
Peer Reviewer:Hatfield Consultants


Maria Lemper, Jan Militzer

Document Title:

Coastline Monitoring

# of Pages:



Internal – Project consortium and science partners


External – ESA



This page has no comments.