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Innovative system for monitoring coastline processes

This release is available in Spanish.

AZTI-Tecnalia, the Basque technological centre specialising in marine and food research, has developed a system for monitoring the coast in order to observe and monitor maritime processes along our coastline. This is innovative technology for the sustainable management of the coast, involving the installation of a series of cameras located at strategic points along the littoral and which photograph the coastline in a programmed and periodic manner. This system, known as 'Kostasystem', is already in operation in the Bizkaian seaside town of Mundaka and will shortly be installed in Bakio.

The project provides technology that enables setting out measurement techniques by means of video images and describes physical processes over a wide range of spatial (from centimetres to various kilometres) and time scales (from seconds to years). It also enables information to be obtained on the behaviour of waves, the marine climate and the coastline.

The images obtained provide valuable information for, amongst other uses, carrying out the exhaustive monitoring of the regeneration or the retreat of sandbanks, knowing the morphological evolution of estuaries or obtaining data on the configuration of beaches and dunes. The Kosta System has also proved to be an optimum technique for studying various coastal processes from the flooding of seaside walkways to user density on beaches.

This innovative system gives rise to the direct application of the results of an R+D+i process developed by AZTI-Tecnalia, in collaboration with the Civil and Coastal Engineering Applied Sciences Laboratory of the University of Pau and with the University of the Adour Countries in Anglet (both in France), through the AquitaineBasque Country cooperation programme.

The Kosta System, installed in Mundaka on the Bizkaian coast, aims to monitor the Urdaibai estuary, as well as to gain knowledge about and predict the conditions and characteristics of the famous Mundaka 'left wave', highly regarded by surfers from all over the world and the location for one of the Surfing World Championships.

The monitoring developed by AZTI-Tecnalia enables a more precise knowledge of the characteristics of the sandbanks at Mundaka to be obtained, provides a monitoring and even a prediction of the waves (height, periodicity and direction) and enhances information on tidal movements or the state of the dunes. The data gathered by the system is accessible to the public through Mundaka Council's webpage, and AZTI's and

Two new Kosta System stations will be shortly installed at Bakio and Zarautz. These two locations are the busiest beaches along the Basque coast, which is why AZTI-Tecnalia is to study in depth the dynamic of the coast at these points and the relation with the morphology of the sands. The goal is correct coastal management that is compatible with the public enjoying their leisure at these locations while respecting the natural environment.


Contact: Irati Kortabitarte
Elhuyar Fundazioa

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