Torres, J.G.; Botero, C.M., and Jaramillo-Velez, A., 0000. A comparison of beach profile methods from technical, operational, and economical dimensions.
Beach profiles provide evidence of the spatiotemporal variability of the coastal surface. Despite being a popular parameter, few references compare a large number of available methods, which would be relevant at both scientific and management levels. This research comparatively analyzed 15 methods for measuring beach profiles, according to three basic criteria: technical, operational, and economic. The comparison was carried out on two beaches in the Gulf of Urabá (Colombia) with different morphological and sedimentary characteristics (dissipative profile with medium sands and reflective profile with pebbles) and on a concrete profile that served as a control. The methods were classified as manual or technological according to their nature and complexity. The total station method was used as a reference method to perform the statistical analysis with the other methods, because it presented less variation compared with other high-precision methods in a control profile. Using the analytical hierarchical process technique, it was found that the manual methods dominated the technological methods. The Puleo method obtained the best result when weighing the three evaluation criteria. As for the economic factors, the manual methods presented a marked difference over the technological ones, and the Emery method was the most economical. These results reject the postulate that insufficient beach profiling data are caused by a lack of budget, because they show that equipment costing just tens of dollars and operated by unqualified personnel are sufficiently reliable and provide consistent results for coastal management.