Kite Aerial Photography (KAP)


For high resolution topographic data to monitor dune/cliff erosion, normally expensive instruments like terrestrial laser scanner is used. Lower cost alternatives to theses are drones and kites. As drones have flying restrictions, it makes the kites a truly low-cost alternative for engaging citizens for the regular topographic monitoring of the beach-dune system. Ideally an action camera like Go pro is fitted onto a special type of mount called the picavet mount which is released onto the kite lines. As the kite is flown higher, at a particular height it starts to fly stably and the preprogrammed gopro starts to collect aerial images. These aerial images are later subjected to a SfM vision algorithm in suitable software to extract point clouds and form a Digital Surface Model. Such DSMs collected at a regular interval (say 3-6 months) are substracted from one another to quantify any morphological change.

Monitored Parameters:

  • Topography
  • Shoreline
  • Hazards:

  • Coastal erosion
  • ✓ Relevant to WP3 models ✓ Relevant to the EWSS


    Minimum Quantity : 1


    Sensor Properties
    Accuracy (error of the measurements) Unit of measurement Data Refresh Time (mins) Wi-Fi Connection 4G Connection External Power Supply Documentation
    27.9mm mm 1 False False False See available docs for Kite Aerial Photography (KAP)
    Purchase operations complexity Assembly/Calibration Operations Complexity Deployment operation Complexity Deployment Cost Data Analysis Operations Complexity
    Neutral Neutral Low Difficult
    Citizen Science Activities Complexity Assembly Public Involvement Deployment Public Involvement Data analysis Public Involvement Target Users
    Easy High- Stakeholders can be easily involved to assemble the kite components. The only relatively difficult part is the assembling of the camera mount. But these mounts will be 3D printed and tutorials on how to fit the camera onto the mount will be provided. High- The kite can be easily deployed in a windy setting like the beach. The kite generates pull so needs to be managed by at least two people . Gloves need to be worn to avoid friction with the kite line. Limited-The video images generated via the GoPro camera can be easily downloaded and archived. Though these aerial images are useful in itself (to understand qualitatively the erosion/flooding etc), the most challenging part is to process these images to get outputs like digital elevation models (DEM; to quantify the amount of sediment lost) which requires expert intervention. local groups; local authorities; schools


    Yes, it includes a refurbished GoPro HERO 2014, A for around 75 euros.

    CCLL can collect the aerial images as part of citizen science activities and send them to the ATU team if they need help in the data analysis phase. These aerial photos would require orthorectification and then for the generation of digital surface models, licensed programs like Agisoft Metashape or open source like CloudCompare would be required.

    Typically, kites perform best when carrying loads under 300 grams, which is why lightweight cameras are commonly used in scientific studies.

    I believe opting for a 12 MP GoPro would be an improvement. During our prototyping in Sligo, we used a GoPro with only 5MP, but now we plan to test it with a higher MP camera. A 12MP resolution should be more than sufficient for our needs.

    For in-depth knowledge and valuable insights, we recommend reading the excellent paper with the reference 10.3390/rs10091494, which delves into KAP techniques and best practices."

    Additional pictures