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Discussion papers | Copyright
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 16 Mar 2018

Research article | 16 Mar 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. A revision of the manuscript is under review for the journal Earth Surface Dynamics (ESurf).

A low-cost technique to measure bank erosion proces ses along middle-size river reaches

Gonzalo Duró1, Alessandra Crosato1,2, Maarten G. Kleinhans3, and Wim S. J. Uijttewaal1 Gonzalo Duró et al.
  • 1Department of Hydraulic Engineering, Delft University of Technology, PO Box 5048, 2600 GA Delft, the Netherlands
  • 2Department of Water Engineering, IHE-Delft, PO Box 3015, 2601 DA Delft, the Netherlands
  • 3Department of Physical Geography, Utrecht University, PO Box 80115, 3508 TC Utrecht, the Netherlands

Abstract. Diverse methods are currently available to measure river bank erosion at broad-ranging temporal and spatial scales. Yet, no technique provides low-cost and high-resolution to survey small-scale bank processes along a river reach. We investigate the capabilities of Structure-from-Motion photogrammetry applied with imagery from an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) to describe the evolution of riverbank profiles in middle-size rivers. The bank erosion cycle is used as a reference to assess the applicability of different techniques. We surveyed 1.2km of a restored bank of the Meuse River eight times within a year, combining different photograph perspectives and overlaps to identify an efficient UAV flight to monitor banks. The accuracy of the Digital Surface Models (DSMs) was evaluated compared with RTK GPS points and an Airborne Laser Scanning (ALS) of the whole reach. An oblique perspective with eight photo overlaps was sufficient to achieve the highest relative precision to observation distance of ~1:1400, with 10cm error range. A complementary nadiral view increased coverage behind bank toe vegetation. The DSM and ALS had comparable accuracies except on banks, where the latter overestimates elevations. Sequential DSMs captured signatures of the erosion cycle such as mass failures, slump-block deposition, and bank undermining. Although this technique requires low water levels and banks without dense vegetation, it is a low-cost method to survey reach-scale riverbanks in sufficient resolution to quantify bank retreat and identify morphological features of the bank failure and erosion processes.

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Gonzalo Duró et al.
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Monitoring bank erosion with Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) G. Duró, A. Crosato, M. G. Kleinhans, and W. S. J. Uijttewaal

Gonzalo Duró et al.
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Publications Copernicus
Short summary
We investigate the application of a recently developed low-cost technique to measure erosion processes along extensive riverbanks. We show that the progression of bank erosion can be measured at a high level of detail and along large extents with a multi-rotor UAV (drone) and computer vision techniques (Structure-from-Motion photogrammetry). Unlike previous methods with similar high-resolution performance, the bank topography is surveyed with low costs, resulting in a encouraging alternative.
We investigate the application of a recently developed low-cost technique to measure erosion...