The project

A dual ambition: to improve knowledge of coastal processes while raising awareness of coastal mobility among citizens

The coastline of the Atlantic coast, and of Nouvelle-Aquitaine’s region in particular, is directly exposed to westerly storms that cross the Bay of Biscay. It is one of the French coastlines most vulnerable to coastal erosion and marine submersion.

During calmer periods, weather and sea conditions can also rapidly transform coastal landscapes. Understanding and anticipating these changes require observation protocols adapted to the processes at work. And it happens that a beach photo taken regularly throughout the year is a valuable monitoring tool for scientists. This is how this regional participatory science project was born, attached to the Coastal Observatory of Nouvelle-Aquitaine.

Inspired by an Australian initiative called CoastSnap, this approach makes it possible to build up a large database of photos to observe the evolution of the coastline by controlling the angle of view and the panorama from a fixed point, while at the same time making citizens aware of the highly mobile nature of the coastal strip.

With the CoastSnap stations in Nouvelle-Aquitaine, the project provides a participatory tool accessible to all for a better knowledge and awareness of the evolution of the coastline.

Project’s genesis

The CoastSnap initiative was launched in 2017 in Australia as a pilot project between the University of New South Wales (UNSW) – Water Research Laboratory and the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment of New South Wales Government.

The pilot project involved the implementation of two CoastSnap stations on the beaches of Northern Sydney, Australia. The very first station was installed at Manly Beach on May 17th, 2017 and the second at North Narrabeen on May 23rd, 2017. The objective of this pilot project was to develop algorithms to map coastal change from community images.

Today, the CoastSnap initiative has been deployed in many countries around the world, including England, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, the Netherlands, Brazil, the United States, India, Mozambique…

Interested in this simple and innovative system, the team of the Coastal Observatory of Nouvelle-Aquitaine decided to bring together a consortium of local partners to develop the project in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine region while joining the international CoastSnap network.

Funded under the 2015-2020 FEDER regional operational programme (European funds) with financial support of Nouvelle-Aquitaine Region, the project brings together the experience of BRGM and the National forests office, both in terms of knowledge of changes in the Aquitaine coastline through the work carried out in the Nouvelle-Aquitaine Coastal Observatory and in the setting up of information and awareness-raising panels, as well as that of the Aquitaine Centre for Information and Electronic Technologies (CATIE) in the field of digital technology (architecture and data storage, image processing, human and cognitive factors).

The project has an experimental vocation, with the deployment of the CoastSnap system on three coastal sites on the Aquitaine coast, in partnership with local authorities. The aim is to install new CoastSnap stations in the region in the coming years and thus improve knowledge of the evolution of the Nouvelle-Aquitaine coastline while promoting a shared risk culture.

Your participation is essential!

On your next trip to the coast, why not combine business with pleasure ?

If you walk by a site equipped with a CoastSnap observation station, we invite you to take a photo of the beach and share it with us.

Your photo will be added to a citizen’s photo library of the coastline.
Through its analysis, it will be possible to better understand the evolution of the coast at different time scales.

By participating :

  • you become an actor in the monitoring of the coastline
  • you help scientists to better understand the functioning of coastal systems
  • you give an extra purpose to your visits to the coast
  • you can be informed by specialists on the evolution of the coastline
  • you can exchange with the CoastSnap Nouvelle-Aquitaine community and also with the international CoastSnap community.

Convinced? To participate, go to the beach!

What happens to your photo?

Once your photo has been shared, it joins a bank of citizen photos which are compared with each other and then analysed by scientists using different image processing algorithms developed by researchers of the CoastSnap international network and the Coastal Observatory of Nouvelle-Aquitaine.

Thanks to your pics of the beach from the same fixed point, it is possible to follow the evolution over time of the position of the coastline, variations in beach level, vegetation, etc.

This information contributes to a better understanding of the evolution of these sites and to an efficient and sustainable management of our beaches.