Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Granting Department


Major Professor

Ping Wang, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Mark Stewart, Ph.D.

Committee Member

John Bishop, Ph.D.


beach, CAD, morphology, NURBS, self-similarity, survey



Beach and nearshore surveys are conducted in a variety of ways, the most commonly used being the level-and-transit method; because it is inexpensive, time conducive and highly accurate. Specifically, beach surveys are conducted to better understand cross-shore, long-shore sediment transport processes, as well as to quantify volume changes, which are used to evaluate beach performance. In this study, a section of the beach on Sand Key, FL was surveyed using rod-and-transit. In addition to the commonly used linear data analysis, a non-linear analysis was conducted using NURBS (Non-Uniform Rational B-Splines).

Survey data was collected within a short time window to ensure minimal environmental changes associated with waves and anthropological factors. Beach profiles were surveyed using two spatial resolutions, including 1) a typical variable resolution determined by the rodman based on observed morphology changes, and 2) a uniform, high resolution of 25 centimeters per point. The results indicate that variable resolution survey with careful observation by the rodman provided adequate accuracy as compared to the very high-resolution survey.

The goal of this study is to create a realistic surface between the beach profiles that are spaced relatively far apart. The commonly used contouring method (a linear method) may create mismatch among major morphology units, .e.g., bar crest, if they have different elevations alongshore. Here a non-linear method is developed by 1) identifying major morphological units, in this case dune top, berm crest, trough bottom, and bar crest 2) linking the units using a cubic spline, and 3) generating a surface using a NURBS sweep2 function. Bisector profiles are sliced from the surface generated using linear and non-linear methods, and compared with surveyed profiles at the same location. The profiles generated using the non-linear method matched more closely to the measured profile than that from the linear method. The non-linear NURBS surface resulted in a consistently greater beach volume between the surveyed profiles than the linear method of volume calculation.