Plinius Conference Abstracts
Vol. 17, Plinius17-23, 2022
17th Plinius Conference on Mediterranean Risks
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Assessing the Accuracy of Shoreline Evolution Trends Obtained by Using Copernicus Earth Observation Data. Case Study: Mediterranean Coastal Areas

Luca Cenci1, Valerio Pampanoni2, Giovanni Laneve2, Carla Santella1, Valentina Boccia3, and Clément Albinet3
Luca Cenci et al.
  • 1Serco Italia SpA, Italy (
  • 2Sapienza University of Rome, Rome, Italy
  • 3European Space Agency, Frascati, Italy

Earth Observation (EO) data characterised by a spatial resolution in the range of 10-30 m (e.g., Sentinel 1 – S1, Sentinel 2 – S2, Landsat series), systematically acquired and freely distributed by national and international space agencies/institutions (e.g., ESA, EU, NASA), are a valuable tool for analysing shoreline evolution trends. These data can be used for supporting coastal erosion hazard and risk management strategies (Cenci et al., 2018). However, the accuracy of such trends is not often quantified because of the difficulties in finding systematic and freely available EO data at Very High Resolution (VHR) concurrently acquired over the same target areas to use as reference.

Within this context, this work was conceived for taking advantage of the Copernicus VHR optical datasets (spatial resolution: 2-4 m) to use as reference data to validate the shoreline evolution trends obtained by exploiting S1 and S2 images. The abovementioned analysis was carried out for a short-term scenario (i.e., 3 years: from 2015 to 2018) in an exemplifying littoral of the Mediterranean Sea characterised by both urbanised and natural coastal areas: i.e., Lido di Ostia (Rome, Italy). Importantly, the shoreline extraction method used in this case study was based on a methodological approach that allowed to map the shoreline positions with sub-pixel precision (Bishop-Taylor et al., 2019; Cenci et al., 2021).

Preliminary results showed that the shoreline evolution trends based on the S2 Visible Near-InfraRed (VNIR) spectral bands (spatial resolution: 10 m) retain an accuracy of 4.5 m (in term of Root Mean Squared Error - RMSE), if compared against the corresponding trends acquired by using Copernicus VHR data with a spatial resolution of 2 m. At the conference, the results of the analysis based on S1 data will be also presented, as well as a thorough interpretation and discussion of the S1 and S2 -based results that take into account the characteristics of the coastal area under assessment (e.g., presence or absence of defence structures) and the relationship between the magnitude of the shoreline advance/retreat trends and the corresponding accuracy. The overall objective of this work is to show the potentialities of the Copernicus EO data for the management of the coastal erosion hazard/risk in the Mediterranean area.


  • Bishop-Taylor R., Sagar S., Lymburner L., Alam I. and Sixsmith J. Sub-Pixel Waterline Extraction: Characterising Accuracy and Sensitivity to Indices and Spectra. Remote Sensing. 2019; 11(24):2984.
  • Cenci L., Disperati L., Persichillo M.G., Oliveira E.R., Alves F.L. and Michael Phillips. Integrating remote sensing and GIS techniques for monitoring and modeling shoreline evolution to support coastal risk management. GIScience & Remote Sensing. 2018. 55(3), pp. 355-375.
  • Cenci L., Pampanoni V., Laneve G., Santella C. and Boccia V. Evaluating the Potentialities of Copernicus Very High Resolution (VHR) Optical Datasets for Assessing the Shoreline Erosion Hazard in Microtidal Environments. AIT Series: Trends in earth observation. 2021. Volume 2, pp. 81-84. ISSN: 2612-7148. ISBN: 978-88-944687-0-0. Published on behalf of the Associazione Italiana di Telerilevamento (AIT) DOI: 10.978.88944687/00

How to cite: Cenci, L., Pampanoni, V., Laneve, G., Santella, C., Boccia, V., and Albinet, C.: Assessing the Accuracy of Shoreline Evolution Trends Obtained by Using Copernicus Earth Observation Data. Case Study: Mediterranean Coastal Areas, 17th Plinius Conference on Mediterranean Risks, Frascati, Rome, Italy, 12–15 Oct 2021, Plinius17-23,, 2021.