Local-scale post-event assessments with GPS and UAV-based quick-response surveys: A pilot case from the Emilia-Romagna (Italy) coast

Enrico Duo, Arthur Chris Trembanis, Stephanie Dohner, Edoardo Grottoli, Paolo Ciavola

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Citations (Scopus)
80 Downloads (Pure)


Coastal communities and assets are exposed to flooding and erosion hazards due to extreme storm events, which may increase in intensity due to climatological factors in the incoming future. Coastal managers are tasked with developing risk-management plans mitigating risk during all phases of the disaster cycle. This necessitates rapid, time-efficient post-event beach surveys that collect physical data in the immediate aftermath of an event. Additionally, the inclusion of local stakeholders in the assessment process via personal interviews captures the social dimension of the impact of the event. In this study, a local protocol for post-event assessment, the quick-response protocol, was tested on a pilot site on the Emilia-Romagna (Italy) coast in the aftermath of an extreme meteorological event that occurred in February 2015. Physical data were collected using both real-time kinematic Geographical Positions Systems and unmanned aerial vehicle platforms. Local stakeholders were interviewed by collecting qualitative information on their experiences before, during, and after the event. Data comparisons between local and regional surveys of this event highlighted higher data resolution and accuracy at the local level, enabling improved risk assessment for future events of this magnitude. The local survey methodology, although improvable from different technical aspects, can be readily integrated into regional surveys for improved data resolution and accuracy of storm impact assessments on the regional scale to better inform coastal risk managers during mitigation planning.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2969-2989
Number of pages21
JournalNatural Hazards and Earth System Sciences
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 12 Nov 2018


  • UAV
  • Storm impact


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