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Chinese Journal of Oceanology and Limnology

http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00343-015-4002-4
A simple and inexpensive method for muddy shore proling
Sayedur Rahman CHOWDHURY
*
, M. Shahadat HOSSAIN, S. M. SHARIFUZZAMAN
Institute of Marine Sciences and Fisheries , University of Chittagong , Chittagong 4331 , Bangladesh
Received Jan. 22, 2014; accepted in principle Mar. 8, 2014; accepted for publication Apr. 28, 2014
Chinese Society for Oceanology and Limnology, Science Press, and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014
Abstract There are several well-established methods for obtaining beach proles, and more accurate
and precise high-tech methods are emerging. Traditional low-cost methods requiring minimal user skill
or training are still popular among professionals, scientists, and coastal zone management practitioners.
Simple methods are being developed with a primary focus on sand and gravel beaches. This paper describes
a simple, low-cost, manual eld method for measuring proles of beaches, which is particularly suitable for
muddy shores. The equipment is a type of exible U-tube manometer that uses liquid columns in vertical
tubes to measure differences in elevation; the supporting frame is constructed from wooden poles with base
disks, which hold measuring scales and a PVC tube. The structure was trialed on a mudat characterized by
a 2040-cm-thick surface layer of silt and clay, located at the Kutubdia Island, Bangladesh. The study results
are discussed with notes on the methods applicability, advantages and limitations, and several optional
modications for different scenarios for routine proling of muddy shores. The equipment can be used by
one person or two people, and the accuracy of the method is comparable to those in other methods. The
equipment can also be used on sandy or gravel beaches.
Keyword : topographic prole; beach proling; eld equipment
1 INTRODUCTION
Beach proling is a simple method for determining
the cross section of a shore, and assists in obtaining
information on coastal morphology and its changes
over time (Short, 1999). Proling provides valuable
insights on the volume of beach materials, seasonal
and long-term changes in the beach surface, the nature
of the sediment, and the physical processes that shape
a beach (Bird, 2008). Scientists, engineers and coastal
zone management practitioners require estimations of
these parameters for specic applications. There are
several beach proling techniques with varying levels
of sophistication (Dean and Dalrymple, 2004).
Various modern methods are used to monitor beach
proles, including precision topographic surveys,
which use equipment such as total stations, high-
accuracy GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite
Systems), and electronic distance meters (EDM).
These types of equipment provide high precision and
enable detailed survey and volume calculations
(Puleo et al., 2008). LIDAR (Light Detection and
Ranging) is a modern method of topographic
surveying that can be used in shore proling (Klemas,
2011), and success in mapping littoral topography,
often called shallow water bathymetry, using LIDAR
technology in clear water has been reported (Long et
al., 2007). Innovative methods of shore proling
using other technologies, for example photogram-
metric interpretation of videographic images (Plant
and Holman, 1997; Smith and Bryan, 2007) or use of
instantaneous inclination angles with an electronic
accelerometer (Gutirrez et al., 2012), have also been
developed. While modern topographic survey
techniques and innovative equipment can be used to
monitor beach proles, their use is often limited by
cost, over-sophistication, and technical requirements
(Komar, 1998). Thus, several simple techniques have
evolved and been used by scientists and practitioners
for a long time.
Measuring beach proles using simple and efcient
Emery rods started in the mid-1940s (Emery, 1961),
and has since been a popular method because of its
* Corresponding author: sayedurrchowdhury@gmail.com
CHIN. J. OCEANOL. LIMNOL.,
simplicity. The method employs two posts or rods
with graduated scales spanning the beach at a
predetermined distance. The difference in levels
between the posts is read using the horizon as the
horizontal guide. In recent years other simpler
methods and improvements to Emery rods have been
developed. Delgado and Lloyd (2004) demonstrated
an improved method using a set square and horizontal
bar; the equipment can be operated by one person and
does not require use of the horizon. Andrade and
Ferreira (2006) used a water-lled hose to determine
the elevation difference between water levels, which
were read on identical scales attached to the ends of
the hose. Puleo et al. (2008) employed a frame of two
horizontal and two vertical rods assembled in a hash-
shaped (#) conguration, and an additional horizontal
rod equipped with a spirit level; the elevation
difference between the vertical arms was determined
by applying the Pythagorean theorem on a triangle
formed by the two horizontal and one of the vertical
rods. The method can also prole shores in the sub-
aerial or littoral zones.
Many of these tools and methods have been
specically designed to be used on rm shores, i.e.,
sand or gravel beaches. However, muddy shores,
which are sometimes covered with knee-deep sticky
mud, have difcult working conditions. The soft
substrate does not support the weight of the most
commonly used equipment. These shores are
generally wider than other types of shores, and longer
proles need to be measured. In addition, areas with
semidiurnal tidal patterns with a macro-tidal range
demand an easy, fast method, because the advancing
tide inundates the lower shore relatively quickly. This
paper describes a method that uses simple equipment
for shore proling; the method is particularly suitable
for mud ats with difcult working conditions, and
where use of other simple methods is not convenient
or is prone to errors because of unstable ground.
2 STUDY AREA
The experimental trial was carried out on the
muddy shore of Kutubdia Island, a low-elevation
depositional island on the eastern coast of Bangladesh.
The island is about 21 km long and 2 to 6 km wide,
aligned roughly parallel to the mainland, separated by
a 3-km-wide tidal channel (Fig.1); the island was
formed at the mouth of a river system consisting of
three present and several paleoriver channels. The
study site was located on the channel side of the
island. The area is protected from large waves, which
results in deposition of a large amount of ne
sediments during the calm winter months (Nov.
Mar.), creating a mudat about 200 to 300 m wide.
There are no tide gauge stations on the island;
however, Kutubdia experiences semidiurnal tides
with a maximum tidal range of about 4 m during
spring tides. Strong tidal currents on both sides of the
island and wind-driven waves help shape the coastline
of the island. Sandy beaches on the exposed side and
mudats on the channel side of the island mark a stark
contrast between the energy conditions and beach
morphology in these seaboards. No quantitative wave
information is available for the area; however, waves
up to 1 to 2 m in height, created under the inuence of
strong south-west monsoon wind forcing, impact the
coastline. Waves of this height are at the small end of
the wind-wave energy spectrum; however, they are
large enough to induce signicant morphological
changes within the channel areas, especially
considering the nature of the ne shore materials and
existing coastal defense structures. A combination of
intensication of wind-driven waves and elevated sea
level (about 1 m above the winter level) is the probable
cause of the removal of ne shore materials from
much of the muddy shore, leaving a sand-dominated
shore-bed during the monsoon season. Some
characteristics of the shore are shown in Fig.2.
21.5
91.5
Coxs Bazar
Maheshkhali
Island
Kutubdia
Island
Bangladesh
Chittagong
City
K
a
r
n
a
p
h
u
li R
iv
e
r
S
a
n
g
u
R
iver
M
a
ta
m
u
h
u
ri R
iver
Bay of Bengal
0 5 10 20 km
92 E
22
N
Fig.1 Map of the study area on Kutubdia Island, showing
the location of the trial site (star)
CHOWDHURY et al.: Simple inexpensive method for muddy shore proling
3 METHODOLOGY
3.1 Equipment
The equipment was identical in principle and
similar in makeup to that described by Andrade and
Ferreira (2006); it uses the water level in a U-tube to
determine the elevation difference between two
places. What makes it different from that used by
Andrade and Ferreira (2006) is its potential for
conversion into a single reading, one-person tool, and
also its adaptability and applicability to soft and
muddy shores where other equipment cannot be held
rmly on the ground without sinking into the mud. To
achieve stability, we attached a at-bottomed stainless
steel fruit dish of about 30 cm in diameter to the
bottom of each 1-m-long wooden pole of the square
cross section. The dish provides a base on which the
pole can stand without sinking into the mud, and the
raised rim of the dish prevents liquid mud from
covering the disk. The pole serves as a basic frame for
attaching a measuring scale (1-m general purpose
ruler graduated in cm/mm and inches, zero being at
the bottom) and a long transparent exible PVC tube
of 5 mm inner diameter. The other end of the PVC
tube runs to the other pole of the set thereby completing
the U. A non-stretchable rope (tether) of predetermined
length, in our case 10 m, is tied to the poles such that
when fully stretched it keeps the poles the desired
distance apartthe maximum leg distance. The rope
is optionally marked at every meter, so that a shorter
leg distance can be measured when necessary. The
PVC tube is chosen to be long enough, in our case
13 m, such that it remains slack when the tether is
fully stretched. Figure 3 shows the assembly of the
equipment.
Water, preferably brightly colored for readability,
is siphoned into the tube in such quantity that when
placed on level ground for calibration, the water level
on both poles lls up to the middle of the scale ( R
M
),
in our case the 50-cm mark. A drain valve assembly
(e.g., a T-tube with a stopper valve) near the bottom
part of the main tube of each pole facilitates draining
of any extra water for precisely adjusting the volume,
and thus the levels. Although a slightly greater or
lesser volume will not impair the devices ability to
measure, lling the tube to R
M
ensures the maximum
measurable elevation difference ( Y
max
, in our case up
to 1 m) per leg ( X ). Filling the tube to R
M
also makes
it possible to use the equipment as a one-person
device after necessary scale transformations, as
shown in Fig.4c and d, where the user takes a reading
at position B ( R
B
).
In Bangladesh, the equipment costs about US$15.
Components and accessories required for the
equipment, with approximate costs, are as follows:
Clear exible PVC tube ($1/17 m);
Accessories: cable clips, nails, screws, nuts and
bolts, and angle brackets ($1);
Flat-bottomed stainless steel fruit dish ($3/pair);
Plastic meter scale ($2/pair);
Wooden poles;
Fig.2 Satellite aerial image of the muddy shore showing the
prole transect and other coastal characteristics
Water
level
1 m
Cable
clip
Transparent
PVC tube
10 m long
tether rope
1214 m long
PVC tube
Base disk
Wooden
pole
Wooden
pole
L
eg distance
Fig.3 Mud at proler assembly
CHIN. J. OCEANOL. LIMNOL.,
Carpentry charge: ($8, includes cost of poles).
Low cost and ease of assembly make the equipment
an affordable alternative to costly survey equipment.
3.2 Field procedure
Using the proler should preferably start from the
upper reach of the shore at a stable benchmark. After
calibrating the water levels in the U-tube on a level
surface using appropriate leveling equipment (e.g.,
spirit level), one pole is placed upright at the most
landward point (A) and the other pole is placed on a
seaward point (B) at a distance ( X ) allowed by the
fully stretched tether. A shorter distance for the
graduated tether can be employed when it is necessary
to capture topographic variations at ner horizontal
scales. The water levels at both ends of the U-tube are
allowed to settle, and the levels are recorded at R
A
and
R
B
. In the single reading operation mode, with
necessary scale transformations (Fig.4), the water
level at only the seaward position (B) is recorded
( R
B
). The elevation difference ( Y ) between A and B
is calculated as R
A
R
B
in the two-person operation
mode, and - R
B
or - R
B
2 in the one-person operation
mode depending on the transformation scale. In the
two-person operation mode, R
A
+ R
B
(sum of the
readings on both poles) should be equal to 2 R
M
. The
deviation of R
A
+ R
B
from 2 R
M
is the human error
attributable to misreading; its occurrence may be
checked at each leg and instantly corrected. Once a
measurement leg is nished, the pole at B stays in
position, optionally turns 180 and becomes position
A for the next measurement leg; the other pole is
placed down the shore at the new position B. This
process is continued until the whole prole is
completed. Data collected from all measurement legs
along the prole are recorded; a sample data log sheet
of a dual reading operation is shown in Table 1.
The workow of this method involves establishing
a line of sight (LOS) straight line across the shore,
which is followed during proling. This LOS line is
established by erecting several bamboo poles or other
staffs in a line. An LOS can be made orthogonal to the
shoreline with the help of a printed map and a
magnetic compass, or a smartphone loaded with a
map/image and electronic compass and/or GPS. We
used an HTC Desire HD smartphone running Android
2.3.3 OS, an OruxMaps application loaded with a set
of local maps and high-resolution images, a SiRFstar-
III NMEA-compatible GPS receiver paired over
bluetooth with a map application, and the electronic
compass on the smartphone.
4 SALIENT ATTRIBUTES OF THE DEVICE
AND METHOD
4.1 Advantage
The equipment can be adapted to use in either a
one-person (Fig.4c, d) or two-person operation
R
M
R
M
R
M
R
M
R
M
R
M
R
M
R
M
R
A
R
B
R
B
R
B
a
Calibration on level ground
b c d
Measuring elevation difference, Y from A to B (X)
A A
Normal scale
2-people operation
Signed mirrored scale
1-person operation
2 signed mirrored scale
1-person operation
Y=(R
A
R
B
)=(4060)=(-20)
Reading error=(R
A
+R
B
)2R
M
Y=(-R
B
2)=(-102)=(-20)
R
A
=(-R
B
)=(-10)
Y=(-R
B
)=(-20)
R
A
=(-R
B
)=(-20)
A A B
B B B X
Y
Y
1
Y
2
Y=0
R
A
=R
B
=R
M
=50
Fig.4 Schematic diagram showing variants of measurement using the mud at proler
a. Instrument calibration; b. standard two-person operation mode; c. one-person operation mode with standard scale transformation; d. one-person operation
mode with 2 scale transformation.
CHOWDHURY et al.: Simple inexpensive method for muddy shore proling
(Fig.4b); alternatively, the same set of equipment can
be congured with dual scales for instantly switching
between one-person or two-person modes. In the two-
person mode the device offers an inherent means of
validating correctness (or accuracy) of individual
observations (reading). The sum of R
A
and R
B
in this
mode must always be equal to 2 R
M
, which can be
easily examined while recording data.
The device is specically designed to perform on
muddy shores where Emery rods or similar staffs
would sink into the mud. Moreover, while Emery
rods or similar staffs would be affected by
microtopographic variations, for example small
bumps, ditches, ripples, and debris, the device
minimizes such error because the base disk levels out
surface irregularities on muddy shores. However, this
may not be the case on rm sandy shores.
Improvements to proling can be achieved by
adopting variable horizontal resolution ( X ),
particularly when local variation in topography needs
to be measured; the tether between the poles is
temporarily shortened. Establishing an LOS line
across the beach by erecting a few bamboo poles can
substantially reduce perturbations from the intended
transect, ensuring that the transect is orthogonal to the
shoreline.
Overall accuracy and precision of the device
should, theoretically, be comparable to that of
Andrade and Ferreira (2006); however, it is likely to
yield improved accuracy, as discussed in Section 3.2.
Logging additional shoreline information, e.g.,
ecological zonation, geomorphological variations,
Table 1 Sample data collection sheet for the dual reading operation mode with actual data from the trial
A B C D E F G H I
= X = C
i
+ B
i

+1
= R
A
= R
B
= Y = D E = G
i
+ F
i

+1

i Leg (m)
Distance from
baseline (m)
Onshore
reading (cm)
Offshore
reading (cm)
Signed
difference (cm)
Cumulative
difference (cm)
Reading
error (cm)
Ancillary shore information
0 - 0 - - - - - -
1 10 10 51.0 93.0 -42.0 -42.0 0.05
2 10 20 51.9 91.7 -39.8 -81.8 -0.35
3 5.5 25.5 58.4 85.1 -26.7 -108.5 -0.45 e.g., sandy reach ends
4 7 32.5 50.5 93.6 -43.1 -151.6 0.15 e.g., sand silt mixture
5 10 42.5 67.0 76.5 -9.5 -161.1 -0.45
6 10 52.5 66.3 78.0 -11.7 -172.8 0.35
7 10 62.5 68.5 75.6 -7.1 -179.9 0.15 e.g., excavation going on
8 10 72.5 69.3 74.2 -4.9 -184.8 -0.45
9 10 82.5 70.4 73.2 -2.8 -187.6 -0.35
10 10 92.5 70.4 74.1 -3.7 -191.3 0.55
11 10 102.5 71.5 72.3 -0.8 -192.1 -0.15 e.g., snail A grazing zone starts
12 10 112.5 65.7 77.9 -12.2 -204.3 -0.35 e.g., natural sea grass growth
13 10 122.5 69.0 75.3 -6.3 -210.6 0.35 e.g., mangrove plantation
14 10 132.5 69.4 73.9 -4.5 -215.1 -0.65
15 10 142.5 68.3 75.3 -7.0 -222.1 -0.35 e.g., muddy regime starts here
16 10 152.5 69.8 73.8 -4.0 -226.1 -0.35
17 10 162.5 70.0 73.8 -3.8 -229.9 -0.15
18 10 172.5 69.7 74.6 -4.9 -234.8 0.35 e.g., mixed snail zone starts
19 10 182.5 70.0 74.5 -4.5 -239.3 0.55
20 10 192.5 67.8 75.9 -8.1 -247.4 -0.25
21 10 202.5 63.4 80.4 -17.0 -264.4 -0.15 e.g., mixed snail zone ends
22 10 212.5 64.4 80.0 -15.6 -280.0 0.45 e.g., snail A grazing zone ends
23 10 222.5 64.0 80.3 -16.3 -296.3 0.35
24 10 232.5 64.0 80.5 -16.5 -312.8 0.55
25 10 242.5 58.6 85.7 -27.1 -339.9 0.35
CHIN. J. OCEANOL. LIMNOL.,
and anthropogenic alterations, can be undertaken as
an integral part of the proling.
4.2 Limitations and probable sources of error
Unlike absolute positioning methods, e.g., GNSS
survey, the method measures elevation difference
relative to the previous measurement; therefore, any
error will have a residual effect on the rest of the
prole and may also accumulate over the course of the
transect. Moreover, the equipment may not be suitable
for use in cold temperatures because the water inside
the U-tube is likely to freeze; using saline water or
other suitable liquid may overcome this problem.
Human observation error generally constitutes a
signicant proportion of the total error, especially in a
time-constrained situation typical of lower shore
proling. Such error resulting from erroneous
readings can be reduced by switching to the two-
person mode of observation.
Error introduced by the slope of the shore would be
two-fold. First, as a result of the slope of the shore, the
measured leg distance would not accurately represent
the actual aerial distance along the shore prole. This
error would be negligible for gently sloping beaches,
but must be corrected for steeper segments of the shore
using the Pythagorean theorem. Second, because of
using a wide base (dish) to hold the measuring pole
vertical, the slope of the shore would result in an
equivalent amount of inclination of the pole. Additional
inclination or an inclination offset may also result
from mechanical causes, e.g., swaying of the pole
around the hinge/attachment brackets. The net
inclination would in turn introduce two different
errors; (a) the water level would tend to rise along the
scale corresponding to the loss of height because of
inclination, which we call the dwarng effect, and (b)
oblique orientation of the liquid surface with respect to
the length of the tube would result in misinterpretation
of the reading, which we call the slant effect. A
theoretical estimation of these effects is shown in
Fig.7: a dwarng effect of about +0.19% (0.38%
equally divided into both poles) at 5 inclination,
equivalent to a +0.95-mm reading at nearly halfway
(50 cm) of the scale, would be registered. Assuming a
1-mm precision of the device, a slant effect of about
0.2 mm for a 5 inclination is deemed acceptable for
Fig.5 Proling the shore along an established line of sight
(LOS) straight line transect
Fig.6 Taking instrument readings on the graduated ruler
scale
Shore
5 slope
1 mm
0.2 mm
error
Liquid
level
L
i
q
u
i
d

f
i
l
l
e
d

t
u
b
e
Inclination
Dwarfing effect=cos.R/2
0.19% for =5
0.95 mm at R=50 cm
Base disk
Measuring staff
Slant
effect
M
e
a
s
u
r
i
n
g

s
c
a
l
e

(
m
m
)
Additional
inclination
Inclination
offset
R
=5
Fig.7 Theoretical estimation of maximum reading errors
caused by slope and mechanically induced inclination
CHOWDHURY et al.: Simple inexpensive method for muddy shore proling
cross-shore coastal prole analysis. However, in this
case the dwarng effect would be unquantiable
because of its dependence on the inclination of the
other measuring pole. Most muddy shores, including
the present study site, have slopes less than or about
1. Therefore, the sum of errors resulting from
inclination is estimated to be less than 1 mm for a
typical muddy shore. Using a spirit level on top of the
wooden staff may provide a robust correction for
inclination errors; adjustment of the level during each
measurement would be time-consuming and provide
an insignicant improvement in accuracy.
Other sources of error include those caused by
changes in the volume of water in the U-tube, e.g.,
from thermal expansion of the tube and water if used
on a sandy beach in a hot sunny day; or less likely
from contraction of the tube by any pressure or stress.
Error of this kind is difcult to quantify and correct.
Errors caused by perturbations from the straight
line transect can be minimized by establishing LOS
guides. Errors caused by microtopographic variations
on rm shores, e.g., sand ripples on a wet sandy beach
where the disk cannot be leveled, need to be avoided
by the users of the equipment.
5 RESULT AND DISCUSSION
This study is the rst attempt on record to monitor
the shore prole at Kutubdia Island, Bangladesh. With
no prior proling data and detailed topographic
information at this scale, and without employing
complementary survey techniques, it was not possible
to assess the accuracy of the measured prole. However,
it is expected that with careful observation the method
will yield accuracies comparable to those in the method
by Andrade and Ferreira (2006), because both methods
work on the same principle. To assess the accuracy of
the total elevation difference between the upper and
lower ends of the prole, we synchronously measured
the low tide still water level (SWL) at the lower shore,
and at a concrete sluice gate structure installed in a
canal near the upper end of the shore. Total vertical
displacement of SWL at the sluice gate (Fig.8,
s =266.3 cm) was in close agreement (3.2 cm) with
the total elevation difference in the corresponding
segment of the prole (Fig.8, p =269.5 cm).
To obtain a rough estimate of practical accuracy
and overall reproducibility of results, we ran two
replicate measurements of the same prole employing
two independent two-person operator groups.
Goodness of t of the two proles (Fig.9, left) was
estimated using the Coefcient of Determination
(Fig.9, right) and Root Mean Square Error (RMSE).
The Coefcient of Determination, expressed as R
2
, is
a statistic that measures the success of the t between
two sets of data. It is calculated using Eq.1 where x
and y represent the data sets from two replicate prole
measurements. A perfect t returns R
2
=1, and a
complete lack of t returns R
2
=0; in this test R
2
=0.993,
which signies a strong t between the replicates.
Shore profile
SWL
-4.0
-3.5
-3.0
-2.5
-2.0
-1.5
-1.0
-0.5
0 50 100 150 200 250
S
l
u
i
c
e

g
a
t
e
Distance from basepoint (m)
C
a
l
c
u
l
a
t
e
d

e
l
e
v
a
t
i
o
n


d
i
f
f
e
r
e
n
c
e

i
n

t
h
e





p
r
o
f
i
l
e

(

p
)
M
e
a
s
u
r
e
d

v
e
r
t
i
c
a
l

d
i
s
p
l
a
c
e
m
e
n
t
o
f

w
a
t
e
r

l
e
v
e
l

a
t

s
l
u
i
c
e

g
a
t
e

(

s
)
E
l
e
v
a
t
i
o
n

d
i
f
f
e
r
e
n
c
e

f
r
o
m

b
a
s
e
p
o
i
n
t

(
m
)
Fig.8 Prole of the Kutubdia Island muddy shore
Replicate 1
Replicate 1
R
2
=0.993
Replicate 2
0 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160
0
0
0
-0.5
-0.5
-0.5
-1.0
-1.0
-1.0
-1.5
-1.5
-1.5
-2.0
-2.0
-2.0
-2.5 m
-2.5
-2.5
Distance from basepoint (m)
R
e
p
l
i
c
a
t
e

2
E
l
e
v
a
t
i
o
n

d
i
f
f
e
r
e
n
c
e

f
r
o
m

b
a
s
e
p
o
i
n
t

(
m
)
Fig.9 Goodness of t of two replicate measurements of a shore prole represented by visual overlay (left), and Coefcient of
Determination of the regression (right)
CHIN. J. OCEANOL. LIMNOL.,

2
2
2 2 2 2
( )
( ( ) ) ( ( ) )
n xy x y
R
n x x n y y




. (1)
RMSE, also known as the t standard error, is a
statistic that estimates the deviation of one dataset
from another, and is calculated using Eq.2 where x
and y represent the data sets from two replicate prole
measurements. RMSE was estimated to be 4.86 cm,
which provides a rough estimate of the practical
accuracy of the method, i.e., how much one prole
may deviate from a replicate (known) or from the true
prole (unknown) because of errors. Emery (1961)
achieved an accuracy of 0.17 feet (or 4.3 cm) in one
of his best measurements; inaccuracies of this order
and magnitude were considered inevitable because
of the non-uniform character of the shore and
microtopographic variations (Andrade and Ferreira,
2006).

2
1
( )
RMSE .
n
i i
i
x y
n


(2)
Interpretation of goodness of t between proles
requires mindful consideration of the fact that the
elevation at any point (leg) is dependent on all
previous points, and any errors that may have occurred
in previous points affect and/or accumulate at
subsequent points. Therefore, elevation points along
the prole are not independent data points.
During the trial, completion of one leg took about
22.5 min in the two-person mode including the time
for moving poles, allowing the levels of the liquid to
settle within the U-tube, reading, and note taking. Our
250-m transect, which consisted of 25 or more legs,
took about 1 h to complete including preparation time
for taking measurements. As such, we were able to
take 45 prole measurements during low tide. In
general, the equipment and method were convenient
to use on the mudat, and the proling process was
rapid and produced consistently reliable results within
the accuracy level of the method. Nonetheless, the
method is not a replacement for high-accuracy, high-
precision, state-of-the-art survey equipment.
6 CONCLUSION
A simple set of equipment for muddy shore
proling was made easily, quickly, and at low cost
using readily available materials. The equipment
proved to be easy to use in the eld with reproducible
results. Reproducibility within 5 cm is acceptable for
ecosystem and some geomorphological studies,
particularly when access to specialized survey
equipment and trained personnel is limited. For one-
person operation, the stability of the poles needs to be
guaranteed, and this can be achieved by either
attaching bigger disks or by placing additional weight
on the disks (e.g., a small sand bag or mud ball) that
is heavy enough to give the required stability.
Incorporating LOS guides in the working procedure
ensures control of transect location and straightness.
The principle and operation of the instrument and
method are not new; the method is based on small and
useful improvements to existing similar methods,
making it a viable choice for proling muddy shores
as well as other beach types without requiring
specialized personnel or training. However, the
method is not a replacement for conventional
engineering/survey grade leveling methods; there are
limitations in its expected accuracy and precision.
However, the method is suitable for certain
applications. With careful operation, the method is
likely to yield a level of accuracy similar to that
obtained from sophisticated equipment, and may
produce better results than faster methods such as
GNSS-mounted all-terrain vehicles (ATVs) for
coastal terrain mapping. In low-income and resource-
starved countries, the method may be a suitable
alternative to expensive means of shore proling.
7 ACKNOWLEDGMENT
We acknowledge that the motivation for this work
came from and all costs were made available through
the ECOBAS (Eco-engineered Coastal Defense and
Food Production) project being jointly carried out by
the WageningenUR and Royal HaskoningDHV of the
Netherlands and Institute of Marine Sciences and
Fisheries of the University of Chittagong, Bangladesh.
We also acknowledge our graduate students M/s. Avijit
Talukder, Royhanur Islam Rasel, Fuad, Shubha Sarker,
Razat Suvro Das, and Milon Kumar Sheuli, and our
eld staff Mr. Jainal Abedin for help in the eld.
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