Worldwide beach monitoring project comes to the Outer Banks

Take a picture for science on Jenette's Pier


August 22, 2019 

You're probably taking a picture anyway, right?

If you’re visiting Jennette’s Pier In Nags Head, chances are you will snap a picture of the coastline. Now you can put the photo to work for science, thanks to a project called #CoastSnap. It’s a citizen a citizen science project in which participants take pictures of a beach from a particular viewpoint using a fixed metal stand. It’s designed to capture and measure changes in the dynamic coastline. But here’s the catch, you have to use the #CoastSnap station to take the picture.

Here’s their directions.

1. SLIP your smartphone into the CoastSnap smartphone cradle
2. STOP and check that the smartphone is resting firm against the left edge of the cradle
3. SNAP a photo using your smartphone camera app


Once you snap the picture, upload it to the CoastSnap Facebook page. You can also email the photo to Coast.Snap@environment.nsw.gov.au. The pictures will add to the growing community database of beach change captured from the same position and viewing angle.

The project was started at the Water Research Laboratory in the school of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UNSW Sydney,Australia in 2017. There are now 43 stations worldwide, including in the UK, France, Brazil, Portugal, Spain, and of course, Australia. Researchers regularly update the Facebook page with the latest time-lapse videos and measurements of beach change from the database.

—Frank Graff 

 Frank Graff is a producer/reporter with UNC-TV, focusing on Sci NC, a broadcast and online science series.