Sea level rise and inundation mapping

Eyre Peninsula was the first region in South Australia to collect contiguous, precision coastal elevation data via LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) as part of a climate adaptation project led by the Eyre Peninsula Landscape Board (the Board) with support from Regional Development Australia Whyalla and Eyre Peninsula, the Eyre Peninsula Local Government Association, Department for Environment and Water and SA Water.

LiDAR is a technology which measures surfaces by using laser beams at very high frequencies, and measuring the time it takes for the laser pulse to be returned to the aircraft. The position of the aircraft is tracked by airborne GPS and Inertial Measurement Technology to within a few cm, so the distance from the aircraft to the ground can be accurately determined.

Eyre Peninsula has 2,355km of coastline spanning from the Upper Spencer Gulf to the Great Australian Bight. This required over 3,000 km of flying over 30 hours flight time to map the entire coastline of Eyre Peninsula, and delivered a comprehensive 3D map of the coastline at a vertical accuracy of +/-15cm.

The data has now been modelled and is available as a visual product at the following link. Further information about how the data was modelled and its limitations can be found here.

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Sea-level rise is projected to accelerate over the next century, with research indicating that global mean sea level may rise 18–48 cm by 2050, and 50–140 cm by 2100.

Decision-makers faced with the problem of adapting to sea-level rise need the appropriate information to make informed decisions. An important data set, towards having the appropriate information, will be elevation data and associated modelling which will identify areas that are vulnerable to inundation

Once the LiDAR is acquired spatial analysis can identify potentially vulnerable ecosystems as well as developed assets.

This lack of essential data has been raised by many stakeholders in recent times and is an ongoing challenge for the region, which is affecting coastal development assessments

More information