Abstract

An accurate, single-user beach-elevation profile device that relies on lightweight, inexpensive materials is described. The device is used to rapidly survey beach topographic profiles and is appropriate for scientific data collection. The profiler consists of two vertical legs and two horizontal spacer bars in the shape of the pound (#) symbol with a freely rotating arm to determine the horizontal level. The light weight and ease of operation of the apparatus permit profiles to be surveyed in 1-m increments at roughly 2 m/min. Standard deviations of the profiler reading at specific points along a single profile varied between 0.003 and 0.014 m as recorded by four different users. Root-mean-square errors on data along five different cross-shore profiles collected at Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, by the four users were 0.01–0.13 m when compared to standard rod and sighting scope and ground-based light detecting and ranging. Several potential causes for the differences, including intrinsic profiler bias, tilt in the assumed vertical legs, and operator error (that accumulate along the profile), as well as changes in the sediment surface, are discussed.

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