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Beach Monitoring

Coastal Insights: Safer Coasts for the Future

Surf Life Saving NSW gains insights from Nearmap imagery and by applying GIS analytics to help deploy surf lifesaving and surf life guard services.

"For the first time we can highly accurately quantify the number and types of beach and water uses across the length of the beach, and we can understand some information about this spatial distribution."

Nick MulcahyCoastal Risk and Research Manager, Surf Life Saving NSW
Surf Life Saving New South Wales aims to equip, empower, develop and support its people to deliver vital aquatic rescue and safety services to save lives across the NSW coastline. Insights derived from Nearmap high-resolution imagery help plan the resourcing of lifeguards and surf lifesavers to reduce the risk of drowning and injury.

The Challenge at a Glance

Optimizing Resources at High-risk Beaches

Australia’s Surf Life Saving NSW (SLS NSW) and its lifeguards and lifesavers do an amazing job of managing the safety of members of the public that visit the 150 beaches along the NSW coastline. However, combination of increased population growth — particularly around regional coastal areas — and increased use of the coastline as social media draws people to beautiful yet isolated locations, have increased the use of high risk sites. For SLS NSW, these factors raised the questions:  ‘How can we reduce the risk of drowning and injury?’, and ‘Are we providing services and support at the highest risk times of the year, and day?’

The Solution at a Glance

How Risk Analysis Helps Reduce Drowning

The project Coastal Insights: Safer Coasts for the Future is working to answer these questions and reduce the risk of drowning and injury at beaches throughout NSW through risk analysis models and frameworks and providing insights and recommendations to coastal safety stakeholders. To do this, it leverages Nearmap high-resolution aerial imagery and GIS data to identify exposure elements — namely the number of beach and water users; and the vulnerability element, the hazard awareness, behaviours and competence of those groups that use particular sites.

Business Impact

Quantifying the Risk of Drowning and Injury

With high resolution aerial imagery, SLS NSW identified different types of beach and water users that have different risk profiles associated with them. Combined with data around hazards of the environment and the vulnerability of beach users, SLS NSW can quantify the risk of drowning and injury at all beaches along the NSW coast. This informs the provision of lifeguarding services, surf lifesaving services, and support operations now and into the future. These insights and recommendations also aid coastal safety stakeholders in their decision making.

Work With a Clearer View

Frequently captured high-resolution aerial imagery at 5.6–7.5cm GSD provides the clarity needed for more accurate insights and analysis.

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