Follow Blacksmiths Beach on CoastSnap

Crowdsourcing concept to track Blacksmiths shifting sands

An innovative new concept is set to harness the power of crowdsourcing to track the ever-changing shoreline of Blacksmiths Beach in Lake Macquarie.

Known as CoastSnap, the initiative is based on a simple premise: install a mobile phone cradle at a key point along the Swansea Channel break wall where people can place their phones and take a scenic photo of the sweeping coastline to the north.

Photos can then be uploaded to the CoastSnap database via email or social media, where they are compiled to gradually create a time-lapse movie. The first output video can be viewed HERE.

Lake Macquarie City Council Environmental Systems Manager Brad Sutton said that over time, the images would reveal how the shoreline changed at Blacksmiths Beach, and how that change was affected by the movement of sand.

“Because the photos are all taken from exactly the same spot, we can get quite a precise measurement of the width of the beach, the shoreline and how it moves,” Mr Sutton said.

“The shape, location and nature of Blacksmiths Beach make it susceptible to shifting sands and shoreline changes. CoastSnap will help us better understand these processes and contributing factors.”

Researchers from the University of NSW and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage will review the data to record short and long-term beach erosion and recovery.

A pilot project has already proven successful at Manly and Narrabeen Beaches in Sydney.

Mr Sutton urged people visiting the break wall to make use of the CoastSnap cradle and contribute to the project.

“It’s simple, quick and fun, and there is a step by step guide next to the cradle explaining exactly what to do,” Mr Sutton said.

View the CoastSnap community beach monitoring program on Facebook or State Government website.

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