Sky-high scoop on erosion

UVIc geography course tests students’ kite-flying skills to monitor beaches across Greater Victoria

  • Feb. 22, 2016 5:00 a.m.
UVic geography students reel in a balloon used to conduct aerial photography at Cadboro Bay beach. Students are using camera-equipped balloons and kites to survey and create 3D maps of coastal systems.

UVic geography students reel in a balloon used to conduct aerial photography at Cadboro Bay beach. Students are using camera-equipped balloons and kites to survey and create 3D maps of coastal systems.

Jacob Zinn

Black Press

A new geography course at the University of Victoria tests students’ kite-flying skills to monitor the state of beaches across Greater Victoria.

Fourth-year undergraduate students from UVic’s Advanced Studies in Geomorphology – the study of the earth’s physical features and their relation to its geological structures – started a new project using kites and balloons with cameras to survey Cadboro Bay beach on a recent rainy Monday afternoon.

Co-developed by instructor and PhD candidate Michael Grilliot and geography professor Ian Walker, the course combines low-altitude aerial photography with Lidar – a form of radar that uses lasers to measure distance – to construct virtual, 3D maps of coastal systems.

“The Lidar creates 3D surfaces from a bunch of points and with the cameras, we can use the overlap from those photos to create a 3D structure,” Grilliot said.

Over the next three months, students will conduct group projects, monitoring the state of beaches all over Vancouver Island using techniques learned from the course.

“The groups are all focusing on different areas,” Grilliot said. “One of the groups is focusing on the Dallas Road bluffs, so they’re looking at historical aerial photography to determine where the shoreline is and where it’s been. They’re going to collect their own data and see if they can use these technologies to detect change and erosion on the beach.”

The course gives students hands-on experience working with these technologies, allowing them to develop valuable skills that they can carry into the workforce.

“Our goal is to provide the students with the ability to use these technologies,” Grilliot said. “That way they can take that knowledge with them to either grad school or consulting agencies or government agencies, and that will give them a foot in the door.”

The long-term plan for the course is for future students to continue monitoring the state of local beaches after former students graduate, eventually building up many years of valuable geographical data that can be shared with local municipalities and other groups.

“We’re just giving students a great opportunity to use these technologies, even in the rain,” Grilliot said. “We’re geography students, so we can handle it.”

 

 

Just Posted

Greater father involvement in the home leads to improved childhood development and increased marital satisfaction, says expert. (Black Press Media file photo)
University of Victoria researcher finds lack of father involvement a drag on gender equality

Working women still taking on most child and household duties in Canada

Emergency health services treated a person after they were blocking traffic at the intersection of Fort and Douglas Streets on June 17. (Evert Lindquist/ News Staff)
Victoria intersection traffic returns to normal after protester blocked roadway

A person in a motorized wheelchair was blocking the intersection at Fort and Douglas Streets

New COVID-19 cases on Vancouver Island by local health area for the week of June 6-12. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control image)
New COVID-19 cases up on Island, but health officials say trends going right way

There were 22 new COVID-19 cases in Greater Victoria last week after just four the week before

With local high schoolers unable to have a traditional graduation ceremony due to COVID-19 restrictions, Amica Douglas House celebrated the momentous occasion of eight of their dining room servers. (Courtesy Amica Douglas House)
8 Greater Victoria teens don fancy dresses, celebrate grad with seniors

With celebrations nixed, Amica Douglas House hosts event for its serving staff

Eric White’s roadside farm stand in Metchosin sits stocked with produce. (Photo courtesy of Eric White)
Fledgling Metchosin farmer frustrated by thefts from stand

Eric White said every dollar made at the roadside helps sustain his farm

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of June 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

The Co-op gas station at Whiskey Creek is burning after a camper van exploded while refueling just before 4 p.m. on Thursday, June 17, 2021. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Exploding camper van torches Highway 4 gas station between Qualicum Beach and Port Alberni

Highway traffic blocked after Whiskey Creek gas station erupts into flames

Helen Austin performing with Trent Freeman at the 2018 Vancouver Island MusicFest. Austin is one of the many performers listed for the 2021 event.
Vancouver Island MusicFest goes virtual for 2021

Black Press to stream 25 hours of programming July 9-11

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

Most Read