American Journal of Environmental Sciences

A Depth Estimation System for Laboratory Studies using Video Imagery

Alec Torres and Rodolfo Silva

DOI : 10.3844/ajessp.2008.229.237

American Journal of Environmental Sciences

Volume 4, Issue 3

Pages 229-237


A simple video-based system has been developed for depth estimation based on wave propagation characteristics. A numerical simulation of a long-crested monochromatic wave propagating over a beach with straight and parallel contours is used for testing the depth inversion system. An oblique video, simulating field conditions, is recorded, digitized and rectified for its further analysis. Pixel intensity time series from a virtual array in the rectified images are analyzed using the depth estimation technique developed by Stockdon and Holman. The linear dispersion equation is applied for depth estimation at every cross-shore position and the resulting values are compared with the depth values used to feed the numerical model. Error analysis confirms good performance for depth estimation using this video-system for completely controlled conditions in small-scale experiments. The relative depth estimation error for this idealized case is 2.3%. This accuracy is explained by the use of a linear model for the wave propagation simulation. The methodology proposed here allows the testing of a new video-system and separation of errors resulting from the depth inversion algorithm from those inherent to photogrammetry techniques in small areas. The use of this system could easily be extended for physical models and field studies.


© 2008 Alec Torres and Rodolfo Silva. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.