Research Article Open Access

A Depth Estimation System for Laboratory Studies using Video Imagery

Alec Torres and Rodolfo Silva


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.

American Journal of Environmental Sciences
Volume 4 No. 3, 2008, 229-237


Submitted On: 20 May 2007 Published On: 30 June 2008

How to Cite: Torres, A. & Silva, R. (2008). A Depth Estimation System for Laboratory Studies using Video Imagery. American Journal of Environmental Sciences, 4(3), 229-237.

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  • Video-based
  • photogrammetry
  • image rectification
  • depth inversion
  • complex principal component analysis