Checking Out SandSnap: ERDC's Crowdsourced Sand Grain Database
Join the SandSnap team next time you hit the beach!
On this episode, host's Peter Ravella and Tyler Buckingham welcome Dr. Brian McFall and Dr. Shelley Whitmeyer to the show to talk about SandSnap, a cool new citizen science tool that they developed to help advance the understanding of sand grain size along the American shoreline, and beyond. Geophysical coastal models rely on sand grain characteristics, which can vary significantly up and down the coast. By collecting images of beach sand (with a US coin for size reference), the SandSnap algorithm can provide nearly instantaneous grain size analysis. The image, its GPS location, and the corresponding grain size data are then saved in a publicly accessible database for modelers to use to better predict coastal processes. Brian and Shelley talk us through the creation of SandSnap (which began as an email authored by Shelley), how they are improving the accuracy of the system, and how broad public participation in SandSnap can help improve our scientific understanding of the Nation's coasts.
Brian McFall is a coastal engineer at the U.S. Army Engineering Research and Development Center (ERDC) with an expertise in wave mechanics and coastal morphological evolution. While working for ERDC he has also created the Sediment Mobility Tool (SMT) which calculates how often sediment in a nearshore berm will be mobilized and where it is likely to go.
Shelley Whitmeyer is an assistant professor as James Madison University where she teaches coastal science.
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