Since 1995, the USGS has collected more than 140,000aerial photographs of the Atlantic and Gulf coasts after 24 hurricanes and other extreme storms. For Hurricane Sandy alone, more than 9,000 aerial photographs were taken a week after the storm. iCoast allows citizen scientists to identify changes to the coast by comparing these aerial photographs taken before and after storms.
Crowdsourced data from iCoast will help USGS improve predictive models of coastal change and educate the public about the vulnerability of coastal communities to extreme storms. Currently, USGS’s mathematical models are derived from dune elevation and predicted wave action during storms. Adding the human observations will allow the scientists to validate the models and to provide better predictions of damage before storms occur. scientific american