Combined digital photogrammetry and time-of-flight laser scanning for monitoring cliff evolution

Michael Lim, David N. Petley, Nicholas J. Rosser, Robert J. Allison, Antony J. Long, David Pybus

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

164 Citations (Scopus)


Although cliffs form approximately 75% of the world's coastline, the understanding of the processes through which they evolve remains limited because of a lack of quantitative data on the morphological changes they undergo. In this paper the combination of terrestrial time-of-flight laser scanning with high-resolution digital photogrammetry is examined to generate high-quality data-sets pertaining to the geomorphic processes governing cliff development. The study was undertaken on a section of hard rock cliffs in North Yorkshire, UK, which has been monitored over a 12-month period. High-density, laser-scanned point clouds have been used to produce an accurate representation of these complex surfaces, free from the optical variations that degrade photographic data. These data-sets have been combined with high-resolution photographic monitoring, resampled with the fixed accuracies of the terrestrial laser survey, to generate a new approach to recording the volumetric changes in complex coastal cliffs. This has led to significant improvements in the understanding of the activity patterns of coastal cliffs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-129
Number of pages21
JournalThe Photogrammetric Record
Issue number110
Early online date28 Jun 2005
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2005


  • coastal retreat
  • digital photogrammetry
  • high-resolution monitoring
  • laser scanning
  • rock cliffs

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