Skip to main content

Combining series of multi-source high spatial resolution remote sensing datasets for the detection of shoreline displacement rates and the effectiveness of coastal zone protection measures


The long-term change of the shoreline location is a phenomenon, which is highly factored in the design of construction projects along the coastal zone. Especially, beach erosion is characterized as one of the major problems at coastal areas and it is of high importance as a quite significant percentage of social development is concentrated in a relatively narrow zone not far from the waterfront. This study presents a methodology that aims to quantify the shoreline displacement rate by involving the processing of different types of remote sensing datasets such as aerial photographs, satellite images and unmanned aerial system data coupled with in-situ observations and measurements. Several photogrammetric techniques were used in order to orthorectify and homogenize a time series of remotely sensed data acquired from 1945 to 2017, representing a rapidly relocating coastal zone at the southern part of Corinth Gulf (Greece), as a case study. All images were digitally processed and optically optimized in order to produce a highly accurate representation of the shoreline at the time period of each acquisition. The data were imported in a Geographic Information System platform, where they were subjected to comparison and geostatistical analysis. High erosion rates were calculated, reaching the order of 0.18 m/year on average whilst extreme rates of 0.70 m/year were also observed in specific locations leading to the segmentation of the coastal zone according to its vulnerability and consequently the risk for further development as well as the effectiveness of measures already taken by the authorities.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3
Fig. 4
Fig. 5


  • Agisoft (2016) Agisoft Photoscan user manual: professional edition (v.1.2), Retrieved 23/7/2016,

  • Albini P, Rovida A, Scotti O, Lyon-Caen H (2017) Large eighteenth–nineteenth century earthquakes in western gulf of Corinth with reappraised size and location. Bull Seismol Soc Am 107:1663–1687.

    Google Scholar 

  • Alhin KA, Niemeyer I (2009) Coastal monitoring using remote sensing and geoinformation systems: Estimation of erosion and accretion rates along Gaza coastline. In: Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium, 2009 I.E. International IGARSS 2009, 12–17 July 2009. pp IV-29-IV-32. doi:

  • Anthoff D, Nicholls RJ, Tol RSJ (2010) The economic impact of substantial sea-level rise. Mitig Adapt Strateg Glob Chang 15:321–335.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Bell RE, McNeill LC, Bull JM, Henstock TJ, Collier REL, Leeder MR (2009) Fault architecture, basin structure and evolution of the Gulf of Corinth rift, central Greece. Basin Res 21:824–855.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Boak EH, Turner IL (2005) Shoreline definition and detection: a review. J Coast Res 21:688–703.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Chaaban F, Darwishe H, Battiau-Queney Y, Louche B, Masson E, Khattabi JE, Carlier E (2012) Using ArcGIS® Modelbuilder and aerial photographs to measure coastline retreat and advance: North of France. J Coast Res 285:1567–1579.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Charalampakis M, Lykousis V, Sakellariou D, Papatheodorou G, Ferentinos G (2014) The tectono-sedimentary evolution of the Lechaion Gulf, the south eastern branch of the Corinth graben, Greece. Mar Geol 351:58–75.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Church JA et al (2013) Climate change 2013: the physical science basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Fifth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Sea level change:1137–1216

  • Costanza R et al (1997) The value of the world's ecosystem services and natural capital. Nature 387:253–260.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • De Pippo T, Donadio C, Pennetta M, Petrosino C, Terlizzi F, Valente A (2008) Coastal hazard assessment and mapping in northern Campania, Italy. Geomorphology 97:451–466.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Evans E et al (2004) Foresight future flooding, scientific summary, volume I: future risks and their drivers. Office of Science and Technology, London

    Google Scholar 

  • Evelpidou N, Pirazzoli PA, Saliège JF, Vassilopoulos A (2011) Submerged notches and doline sediments as evidence for Holocene subsidence. Continental Shelf Research 31:1273–1281.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Fonstad M, Dietrich J, Courville B, Jensen J, Carbonneau P (2013) Topographic structure from motion: a new development in photogrammetric measurement. Earth Surf Process Landf 38:421–430.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Gens R (2010) Remote sensing of coastlines: detection, extraction and monitoring. Int J Remote Sens 31(7):1819–1836.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Hellenic Navy Hydrographic Service (2015) Sea level statistics from the Greek tide gauge network, publication of Hellenic navy hydrographic Service, Athens, 107 p

  • Hollenstein C, Muller MD, Geiger A, Kahle HG (2008) Crustal motion and deformation in Greece from a decade of GPS measurements, 1993-2003. Tectonophysics 449:17–40.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Kloehn KK, Beechie TJ, Morley SA, Coe HJ, Duda JJ (2008) Influence of dams on river-floodplain dynamics in the Elwha River, Washington. Northwest Sci 82:224–235.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Lykousis V et al (2007) Sediment failure processes in active grabens: the western gulf of Corinth (Greece). In: Lykousis V, Sakellariou D, Locat J (eds) Submarine mass movements and their consequences: 3rd international symposium. Springer Netherlands, Dordrecht, pp 297–305.

    Chapter  Google Scholar 

  • Malthus TJ, Mumby PJ (2003) Remote sensing of the coastal zone: an overview and priorities for future research. Int J Remote Sens 24:2805–2815.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Mancini F, Dubbini M, Gattelli M, Stecchi F, Fabbri S, Gabbianelli G (2013) Using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) for high-resolution reconstruction of topography: the structure from motion approach on coastal environments. Remote Sens 5:6880–6898.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • McClusky S et al (2000) Global positioning system constraints on plate kinematics and dynamic in the eastern Mediterranean and Caucasus. J Geophys Res 105:5695–5719.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Moore LJ (2000) Shoreline Mapping Techniques. J Coast Res 16:111–124.

    Google Scholar 

  • Mugnier C (2002) Grids and Datums: the Hellenic Republic. Photogramm Eng Remote Sens 68:1237–1238

    Google Scholar 

  • Nicholls RJ, Hoozemans FMJ (1996) The Mediterranean: vulnerability to coastal implications of climate change. Ocean & Coastal Management 31(2-3):105–132.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Nomikou et al (2011) Swath bathymetry and morphological slope analysis of the Corinth gulf. In: Grützner C, Fernández Steeger T, Papanikolaou I, Reicherter K, Silva PG, Pérez-López R, Vött a (eds) 2nd INQUA-IGCP-567 international workshop on active tectonics, Earthquake Geology, Archaeology and Engineering, Corinth, 2011. pp 46–49

  • Padwick C, Pacifici F, Smallwood S (2010) WorldView-2 pan-sharpening. In: ASPRS 2010 Annual Conference, San Diego

  • Sakellariou D et al (2007) Faulting, seismic-stratigraphic architecture and late quaternary evolution of the Gulf of Alkyonides Basin–East Gulf of Corinth, Central Greece. Basin Res 19:273–295.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Thieler E, Himmelstoss E, Zichichi J, Ergul A (2009) Digital shoreline analysis system (DSAS) version 4.3-an ArcGIS extension for calculating shoreline change. Vol 2008-1278. U.S. Geological Survey

  • Valaouris A, Poulos S, Petrakis S, Alexandrakis G, Vassilakis E, Ghionis G (2014) Processes affecting recent and future evolution of the Xylokastro beach zone (semi-enclosed Gulf of Corinth, Greece). Global NEST J 16:773–786

    Google Scholar 

  • Van Rijn LC (1998) Principles of coastal morphology. Aqua publications, Amsterdam

    Google Scholar 

  • Van Zuidam R, Van Zuidam-Cancelado F (1979) terrain analysis and classification using aerial photographs: a geomorphological approach. International Institute for Aerial Survey and Earth Sciences (ITC)

  • Vassilakis E (2010) Remote sensing of environmental change in the Antirio deltaic fan region, western Greece. Remote Sens 2:2547–2560.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vassilakis E, Papadopoulou-Vrynioti K (2014) Quantification of deltaic coastal zone change based on multi-temporal high resolution earth observation techniques. ISPRS Int J Geo-Inf 3(1):18–28.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Vassilakis E, Skourtsos E, Kranis H (2007) Combination of morphometric indices as a method for the quantification of neotectonic evolution in active areas. In: 16th DRT Conference, Milan, Rend. Soc. Geol. It., p 214

  • Vassilakis E, Royden L, Papanikolaou D (2011) Kinematic links between subduction along the Hellenic trench and extension in the Gulf of Corinth, Greece: a multidisciplinary analysis. Earth Planet Sci Lett 303:108–120.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Westoby MJ, Brasington J, Glasser NF, Hambrey MJ, Reynolds JM (2012) ‘Structure-from-motion’ photogrammetry: a low-cost, effective tool for geoscience applications. Geomorphology 179:300–314.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references


The authors would like to thank P. Sartabakos for piloting the UAS and providing the aerial photographs of June 2017-time period. The 5-m DEM as well as the 1945 and 2010 remote sensing datasets were kindly provided by NCMA S.A. to the Remote Sensing Laboratory of NKUA for scientific reasons.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Emm Vassilakis.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Tsokos, A., Kotsi, E., Petrakis, S. et al. Combining series of multi-source high spatial resolution remote sensing datasets for the detection of shoreline displacement rates and the effectiveness of coastal zone protection measures. J Coast Conserv 22, 431–441 (2018).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Ikonos-2
  • Worldview-2
  • UAS
  • Photogrammetry
  • DSAS
  • Corinth gulf