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Earth Surface Dynamics An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union

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https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-2018-24
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
Research article
22 Mar 2018
Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Earth Surface Dynamics (ESurf).
Google Earth Engine Digitisation Tool (GEEDiT), and Margin change Quantification Tool (MaQiT) – simple tools for the rapid mapping and quantification of changing Earth surface margins
James M. Lea Department of Geography and Planning, School of Environmental Sciences, University of Liverpool, Liverpool, L69 7ZT
Abstract. The visualisation and exploration of satellite imagery archives coupled with the quantification of margin/boundary changes are frequently used within earth surface sciences as key indicators of the environmental processes and drivers acting within a system. However, the large scale rapid visualisation and analysis of this imagery is often impractical due to factors such as computer processing power, software availability, internet connection speed, and user expertise in remote sensing. Here are described two separate tools that together can be used to process and visualise the full Landsat 4–8 and Sentinel 1–2 satellite records in seconds, enabling efficient mapping (through manual digitisation) and automated quantification of margin changes. These tools are highly accessible for users from a range of remote sensing expertise, with minimal computational, licensing and knowledge-based barriers to access. The Google Earth Engine Digitisation Tool (GEEDiT) allows users to define a point anywhere on the planet and access all Landsat 4–8/Sentinel 1–2 imagery at that location, filtered for user defined time frames, maximum acceptable cloud cover extent, and options of predefined or custom image band combinations via a simple Graphical User Interface (GUI). GEEDiT also allows georeferenced vectors to be easily and rapidly mapped from each image with image metadata and user notes automatically appended to each vector. This data can then be exported to a user's Google Drive for subsequent analysis. The Margin change Quantification Tool (MaQiT) is complimentary to GEEDiT, allowing the rapid quantification of these margin changes utilising two well-established methods that have previously been used to measure glacier margin change and two new methods via a similarly simple GUI. MaQiT is also suitable for the (re-)analysis of existing datasets not generated by GEEDiT. Although MaQiT has been developed with the aim of quantifying tidewater glacier terminus change, the tool can be applied to other margin changes within earth surface science where margin/boundary change through time is of interest (e.g. coastal and vegetation extent change). It is hoped that these tools will allow a wide range of researchers and students across the geosciences to have access to, efficiently map and analyse volumes of data that may have previously proven prohibitive.
Citation: Lea, J. M.: Google Earth Engine Digitisation Tool (GEEDiT), and Margin change Quantification Tool (MaQiT) – simple tools for the rapid mapping and quantification of changing Earth surface margins, Earth Surf. Dynam. Discuss., https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-2018-24, in review, 2018.
James M. Lea
James M. Lea

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Short summary
The new, freely accessible and easy-to-use tools presented in this paper (GEEDiT and MaQiT) provide users with the ability to both visualise and map from the full satellite records of Landsat 4–8, and Sentinel 1–2, and quantify margin changes with unprecedented speed. This allows previously prohibitive volumes of remote sensing data to be analysed easily, flexibly and rapidly. These tools have potential applications across the geosciences for the exploration and analysis of satellite imagery.
The new, freely accessible and easy-to-use tools presented in this paper (GEEDiT and MaQiT)...
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