Coastal erosion monitoring at Skara Brae, Orkney

I have just returned to Edinburgh after an adventurous 4-day fieldwork trip to Skara Brae in Orkney, using laser scanning to determine the degree of coastal erosion on the Bay of Skaill around the neolithic settlement. To do that, a 3D survey of the site is conducted every 2 years and the data compared to determine the changes in the position and shape of the sand dunes forming the edge of the coast.


Due to limited time on site (and adverse weather conditions) 2 teams were working at the same time on the beach using the Leica P40 and C10 scanners and survey control using traverses and GPS. The C10 was used to scan the top of the dunes on the east of the village, in a traverse tying to scans along the beach (see photos).


The weather was not in our favour (low temperatures and high winds), but the work was completed in time. The data is being processed at the moment and the comparison with the 2014 scans will reveal the degree of erosion on the coastline.


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