That’s called combining business with pleasure. In Morbihan, CoastSnap metal stations have been installed along the coast to encourage walkers to photograph the beaches with their smartphones. These photos are then recovered by scientists, who can then monitor erosion in sites deemed sensitive. And this, almost in real time.
A new CoastSnap station has just arrived on the Morbihan coast. Founded by Lorient Agglomeration, this device was installed on a cliff overlooking the beach of Grands Sables, on the island of Groix, 20 Minutes reports. By placing their smartphone on the metal object, passers-by can capture a breathtaking panorama of the site. Something to delight Instagram followers, but also scientists.
This device, originating from Australia, is indeed primarily a tool for participatory science. The principle is simple: walkers use the station to capture the view of the beaches, then they are invited to follow a few instructions to send their photos. Sending can be done by email or by sharing the photos directly on social networks with the hashtag #coastsnapmorbihan. The date and time of the intake must be stated. All photos will then enrich a participatory database.
+ info 👉 https://t.co/qhr99Ui3fD pic.twitter.com/iRGlG4QXHO
— Lorient Agglo (@LorientAgglo) February 11, 2022
Valuable data on coastal erosion
The snapshots are then analyzed and compared by scientists, using various calculation algorithms developed by the Ocean Geosciences Laboratory at the University of Southern Brittany. Objective: to follow in almost real time the evolution of the erosion of the beaches of Morbihan, some of which are considered sensitive. Since the photos were taken at the same point, it is possible to gather valuable information about “the variation in sand heights on the foreshore and on the dune, the evolution of the profile of the beach, the coastline, the vegetation defining the dune or the facilities or even the stranding of algae and the presence of the sea boundary »† Data allowing to improve the management of these sites, in particular in case of exceptional meteorological phenomena.
Since 2019, Morbihan has 6 CoastSnap stations on different beaches. The latter was installed to overlook the beach of Grands Sables, on the island of Groix, one of the few convex beaches in Europe. The CoastSnap station was located on the site of the Grande Plage de Gâvres 3 years ago. This collects on average about fifteen photos per month.
An innovative collaborative science system from Australia and already established in England, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Brazil, United States, Mozambique… and now in Brittany.