August 31, 2020

SECOORA Develops New Observing Network with Low-Cost Webcams

Two cameras installed for the webcam network. The left is located at Buxton, NC and the right is located in Miami, FL. Image Credit: Surfline, Inc.

Example of a product using web camera data. Time-average (top), time-variance (bottom) and time-stack (right) images are calculated from video segments from the Miami, FL camera. These products support identification of morphological features, shoreline position and wave runup and overwash. Credit: Dusek et al., 2019.

SECOORA was recently awarded a $1.1 million grant to launch a sustained network of low-cost webcams throughout the Southeast, which will build off of a successful pilot project. Webcams are a low cost coastal observing platform transforming how environmental monitoring is conducted. Video data is being used for applications related to transportation and commerce, preparedness and risk reduction, and stewardship of coastal resources.

The project, Webcams for Coastal Observations and Operational Support (WebCOOS), will develop a webcam coastal observing network for quantitative scientific analysis, public safety, and resource management for coastal municipalities. To accomplish this, standardized data processing and management methodology will be established to provide stakeholders such as lifeguards, emergency managers, and coastal managers actionable information from webcam video.

“SECOORA is excited to be awarded NOAA funding to transition our successful pilot project, the Web Camera Applications Testbed, to a sustained network.  Webcam data has demonstrated value to address significant gaps in the nation’s ability to monitor and accurately forecast various weather, ocean, ecological and public health hazards.”
Debra Hernandez, SECOORA Executive Director

This project will result in immediate benefits to partners by filling gaps in critical coastal observations. For instance, webcam data will help NOAA validate and improve their rip current forecast model, and USGS relies on webcam observations of wave run-up for research on beach erosion, overwash, and inundation. In both of these cases and others, there are extremely limited coastal observations available to address these needs.  

Project Funding

This project is funded by the NOAA U.S. Integrated Ocean Observing System’s (IOOS®) Ocean Technology Transition grant.

Project Partners