• Coastal Erosion logo

    Commissioned by the European Space Agency

Coastal Change from Space

ARGANS Ltd, a world leader in coastal change monitoring, is developing a global service for monitoring coastal erosion, environmental risk assessment, and research on the potential impact of climate change on the coast, including sea level rise and effect of increasingly dynamic weather systems.

We lead a project commissioned by ESA to assess the end-user benefits from such a service, bringing together professional geomorphological expertise from partners at the British Geological Survey (BGS), the Geological Survey Ireland (GSI), the Environmental Hydaulic Institute Cantabria and Arctus, working with the University of Quebec, Rimouski (UQAR) as part of a Coastal Change consortium.

ARGANS Ltd is focused on conducting assessments over 25 years using a range of satellite sensors such as Copernicus Sentinel Multispectral and SAR data, USGS Landsat data supported with a blend of some commercial data provided by the ESA Third Party Mission programme. Monitoring Coastal Erosion by employing a range of innovative Satellite Imagery techniques enables a large spatial scale and a high temporal and spatial resolution to be delivered in an affordable manner which can be made applicable to anywhere around the world.

Products & Services


A LiuJezek_CoastL processor using Sentinel-2 and Landsat images can distinguish between the sea and land and so detect the waterline. Very High Resolution (VHR) commerical satellite images, are used to correct pixel offsets, or co-register, so improving spatial accuracy.

The image is of Wexford Bay in Ireland, one of the case study sites selected by our partner, Geological Survey Ireland.

Wexford Bay coastline sentinel-2


A waterline is a snapshot in time, varying with the tide. Taking into consideration the beach profile and adjusting to a tidal datum produces a shoreline corresponding to a mean or extreme value of tidal elevation.

The animation is of the shoreline corresponding to Highest Astronomical Tide (HAT) datum at Wexford, Ireland.


Another approach uses satellite derived bathymetry (SDB) techniques to monitor seabed change in coastal environments to aid the quantification of sediment transport in the nearshore.

This image of Guadeloupe is taken from our ground-breaking SDB programme showing a Sentinel-2 image overlaid with the processed Digital Terrain Map (DTM) image. This can detect any changes in the seabed that have occurred.

Feature Classification

A supervised learning algorithm is used to extract three areas of interest: the backshore, with land features masked, the littoral zone, composed of beach and tidal zone and the ocean, with no coastal or land features.

The animation is of the land use classification map generated for Waterford, Ireland.

Quality Assured

Product verification and quality control are important, especially in an innovative sector where novel products are generated.

New QA techniques are under continual development, as here where a heatmap has been generated from our archive of generated products. This can be used to detect and remove false results.

Product Validated

Our partnerships with teams providing professional geomorphological expertise enables products to be validated using a variety of independantly sourced data.

This image of the Wash, UK showing a close match between the ARGANS generated shoreline and a LiDAR scan.

Connected Projects

Coral Bleaching Detection and Monitoring from Space

The health of coral reefs provide accurate markers of the current state of climate change. ARGANS' objectives within ESA's SEOM Coral Monitoring Program are the scientific exploitation and validation of the Sentinel-2 Multispectral Instrument for mapping (habitat, bathymetry and water quality) and change detection for coral reef health assessment and monitoring

Satellite-derived Bathymetry & Nautical Charting

ARGANS has developed innovative methodologies for generating IHO-compliant nautical charts derived from satellite multi-spectral images. The images are processed using an adaptive look-up table physics-based inversion technique, with the assistance of one of our collaborators, under contract to the French Hydrographical & Oceanographic Office (SHOM).

EO Tracking of Marine Debris in the Mediterranean Sea

This project uses optical images from ESA’s Sentinel-2 satellite to detect marine litter floating on the sea surface. By analysing the reflectance values of the pixels composing the image, litter can be differentiated from its surroundings. A processor has been developed with the overall aim to detect marine litter to inform future models and other applications.


ARGANS, is a UK-registered company with headquarters based in Plymouth UK, offices in Sophia-Antipolis and Brest, and staff located in London and Southampton.

We are specialists in satellite-based Earth Observation, remote-sensing applications and services, and geographical information systems used to map and monitor the marine, atmospheric and terrestrial environments. The team at ARGANS are also industry standard professionals in coastal charting through the application of satellite derived bathymetry.

ARGANS offers satellite mission solutions across a range of services, including development of ground segment algorithms and applications, data quality assessment and validation, or operations on behalf of space agencies, while keeping a strong scientific expertise in remote sensing science.

The company has forged strong partnerships through joining consortia both as prime and sub-contractor with UK, European and International entities: companies, research institutes, universities and individual scientific consultants.

In association with our partners: