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The basic goal of the Coastal Studies sector is to support projects for the defense and regeneration of beaches undertaken by the Ministry of Public Works, Transport and the Environment (MOPTMA). This is accomplished by a direct collaboration in the design of these projects and the maintenance of the basic information needed. The sector also tries to keep our country up to date in the techniques used in this field.
Although Spain can be considered to be among the pioneer countries in the protection of its coastline and in the regeneration of beaches, this activity is an extraordinarily young branch of civil engineering, which requires a significant effort in basic and applied research.
The activity of the sector consists of four basic areas:
Coastal dynamics studies, whose aim is to progress in the knowledge of the transport processes which lead to beach evolution.
Beach regeneration projects and management techniques.
Monitoring of regeneration projects with topographical and bathymetric measurement campaigns and evolution analysis.
Advanced measuring in the marine environment and setup of new equipment and systems for coastal monitoring.
To undertake its work, the sector has, among other tools, a data bank with aerial photographs of the Spanish coast and of the shoreline position in sandy coasts from 1947 till the present. It also has software for the calculation of sediment transport along the shore and the evolution of the shore in its plan-shape and profile under wave action. At present, a special effort is being made within the sector to apply Geographical Information Systems concepts and tools in the coastal area.
A good part of the activity of the sector depends on the collection of data in the field. For this purpose the sector has boats, sounding equipment and various field instruments, as well as a workshop for sedimentological analysis.