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Coastal Change Hazards Team Releases New Software Tool for Delineating Coastal Cliff Features

SPCMSC Physical Scientist Alexander Seymour and co-authors Cheryl Hapke (University of South Florida College of Marine Science) and Jonathan Warrick (PCMSC) published a USGS Open-File Report and a software tool for delineating features on coastal cliffs.

Coastal cliffs front long stretches of the U.S. coastline, and erosion or failure of seacliffs threatens property, tourist economies, and human life. Delineating seacliff features is fundamental to assessing changes on coastal cliffs, but this process can be hampered by methods that rely heavily on manual interpretation of cliff data. To improve the speed and repeatability of cliff delineation, the Coastal Change Hazards (CCH) team released a software tool that builds on the chord line delineation method originally pioneered by USGS scientist Monica Palaseanu-Lovejoy. The Cliff Feature Delineation Tool (CFDT) includes options for delineating subsidiary features on a cliff face, as well as tunable parameters that help the delineation algorithm better adapt to a variety of cliff sizes and morphologies. So far, this tool has been paired with a quality assurance/control process and used to delineate the major stretches of seacliffs in Puerto Rico.

To read the Open-File Report visit:

For the software release visit:

Cliff feature outputs from the algorithm are shown as colored dots and lines on a 3-dimensional rendering of a coastal cliff.
Digital three-dimensional rendering of the coastal cliffs around Point Dume in Malibu, California. Cliff feature outputs from the Cliff Feature Delineation Tool are shown to conceptually display the cliff delineation process, including cross-shore transects (green), the cliff top line (red), the cliff toe line (blue), and subsidiary cliff features (orange). (Credit: Alexander Seymour, USGS. Public domain.)


Read what else is new at the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center.


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