Monmouth Beach Survey, Lyme Regis

Jurassic Coast World Heritage Team

In March 2012, SUAVE submitted a successful tender for a project that would entail producing an extensive photographic record of Monmouth Beach near Lyme Regis, which is part of the Jurassic Coast World Heritage Site. In particular, the World Heritage Team required a very high resolution baseline aerial survey of the wave-cut platforms along the beach, which have been the subject of several significant failures in recent years. The survey was required to document any changes and, by capturing photographs of a sufficient resolution, to enable geologists to carry out a detailed analysis of cracks and faults that might otherwise be difficult to discern.

During a three day site visit in June, SUAVE obtained a large number of high resolution images from a height of just 20 feet – an altitude that would be unfeasible for conventional manned aircraft. This close proximity to the subject, combined with the use of a high resolution camera and an advanced UAV, enabled the client to secure images of exceptional clarity – one pixel equating to just 2mm x 2mm of surface area. The resulting data, which will be stitched together into a large photographic mosaic, has already proved to be enormously useful to the team, which was led by Dorset County Council’s Earth Science Manager, Richard Edmonds. The images, which show the rock formations in greater detail than ever before, have enabled the team to advance and explore a number of theories concerning the failure of the platforms, and the finished survey will certainly inform further investigations, which are ongoing.

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