SENTINEL-2 DERIVED WATERLINES FOR COASTAL MONITORING APPLICATIONS: A NEW APPROACH FOR QUANTIFYING VERTICAL AND HORIZONTAL ACCURACIES
Keywords: waterlines, remote sensing, Sentinel 2, coastal erosion, accuracy, benchmark, climate change, applications
Abstract. Accurate and consistent mapping of the boundary between land and water (the ‘waterline’) is critical for tracking coastal change and coastal management. Earth Observation satellite remote sensing provides a unique cost-effective alternative to traditional methods. Waterlines from satellites are often derived by methods based on spectral indices that lead to the separation between land and water. The validation strategy for these products requires a complex approach from accuracy assessment (quantifying error) to verification of its suitability for monitoring applications. Traditionally the accuracy of EO products is reduced and simplified to the resolution of the sensor or satellite that collects the data. However, environmental variables (sea conditions, weather, vegetation, anthropic) that may have a direct effect on the sensor and on the coastline that we are trying to monitor are not taken into consideration. Segments of Sentinel-2-derived waterlines were selected in North Bull Island for further analysis in the creation of a new benchmark dataset for understanding the waterline models of eastern Ireland. In our novel approach, we propose that horizontal accuracy assessment is performed by using the mean absolute distance between the GNSS reference line and the Sentinel-2-derived waterline. The vertical accuracy assessment was then calculated by the difference between the attributed waterline height compared with the mean GNSS elevation at the intersection points. Results were then compared with Dublin Port tide gauge height record. The development of reference validation models can allow more efficient application of satellite data for monitoring, and understanding how environmental variables affect each case study.