Using Video Imagery to Study Head of the Meadow Beach

Science Center Objects

Two video cameras are mounted on a bluff near Head of the Meadow Beach, Cape Cod National Seashore, North Truro, MA. One camera looks alongshore toward the north-northeast, and the second looks directly offshore (northeast). The cameras are part of a U.S. Geological Survey research project to study the beach and nearshore environment shared by beachgoers, shorebirds, seals, and sharks. The work is being conducted under National Park Service permits CACO-2019-SCI-0021 and CACO-2020-SCI-0021.

This is a companion to the cameras at Marconi Beach.

Every half hour during daylight hours, the cameras collect snapshots and video for 10 minutes. The most recent images are shown below. If they are out of date, there may be technical problems. Please note that it takes 10 minutes for the images to post once they are collected by the camera. This camera research is part of the Remote Sensing Coastal Change Project.

Currently, USGS video cameras are active at these locations:

These and other images are used to remotely sense a range of processes, including:

  • shoreline position,
  • sandbar migration,
  • rip-channel formation,
  • wave run-up on the beach,
  • alongshore current, and
  • nearshore bathymetry.

Please note: If old photos are displayed, cameras may be temporarily offline.



The snapshot is the first frame of the video, just like a standard photograph.

Camera 1 Snapshot (Larger Version)

Camera 2 Snapshot (Larger Version)














Timex (time-exposure) images

A timex is a time-averaged image of all frames, smoothing away surface waves and determining the location of persistent wave-breaking (indicative of shallow sandbars).

 Camera 1 Timex Image (Larger Version)

Camera 2 Timex Image (Larger Version)














Variance images

A "variance" image shows the standard deviation of pixel intensity throughout the video and it is useful for determining how much variation or movement is occurring at a given location.

Camera 1 Variance Image (Larger Version)

Camera 2 Variance Image (Larger Version)














Bright images

A "bright" image shows the brightest pixel values throughout the video, useful for identifying the position of maximum wave run-up on the beach, position of all breaking waves, and sea-state.

Camera 1 Bright Image (Larger Version)

Camera 2 Bright Image (Larger Version)














Dark images

A "dark" image shows the darkest pixel values throughout the video, useful for tracking sediment plumes, tracking floating debris, and filtering out breaking waves. 

Camera 1 Dark Image (Larger Version)

Camera 2 Dark Image (Larger Version)