Airborne Lidar Survey for the Southern California Beach
Processes Study: Point La Jolla to Dana Point

Roberto Gutierrez, principal investigator; James C. Gibeaut, Tiffany L. Hepner, Rebecca C. Smyth, and Amy Neuenschwander (The University of Texas at Austin Center for Space Research)

The goal of this joint program between the University of California, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and BEG is to understand beach processes in Southern California, especially the relationship between seasonal storm patterns, ocean waves, and changes in beach sand level. The original objective of the collaboration was to collect topographic data along the coast from Point La Jolla to Dana Point and develop new methods of shoreline mapping using airborne lidar technology. Lidar surveys were conducted in May, September, and December of 2002 during periods of low tide. Additional surveys were conducted in March and October 2003. In 2004, the survey area was increased to include the shoreline from Long Beach south to the U.S.-Mexico border at Tijuana. Despite poor weather and serious wildfires in southern California during 2004, a comprehensive survey of this extended area was successfully completed in September. These data are being analyzed at Scripps and UT.


For more infomation, please contact Jeff Paine. Telephone 512-471-1260; e-mail

September 2005