Accurate and consistent shoreline determinations play a major role in nautical charting and coastal management boundary assessment. Delineations along this dynamic margin are dependent upon the stage of tide and are demarcated by tidal datums such as Mean High Water (MHW) and Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW). This study investigated airborne lidar bathymetry (ALB) as a potential tool to support shoreline mapping. A computerized process was devised to obtain shoreline determinations from a lidar dataset processed using various algorithms and by devising a threshold to distinguish land and water. The algorithm-derived land-water interfaces are analyzed against the reference shoreline constructed from the ortho-rectified aerial imagery simultaneously collected with the ALB data. The study area includes a variety of shoreline types such as rocky, sandy, and man-made, to evaluate the performance of the various algorithms in differing environmental conditions. Examination of the results assesses the quality of the shoreline products in comparison to current shoreline methods and considers whether ALB provides a solution to problems currently associated with shoreline mapping. This evaluation included analysis of the reliability, resolution, and uncertainty of the shoreline determinations and an assessment as to whether the land-water interfaces derived from ALB can meet charting standards.


Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping

Publication Date


Journal or Conference Title

Shallow Water Survey Conference (SWS)

Conference Date

Oct 21 - Oct 24

Publisher Place

Durham, NH, USA



Document Type