Abstract

Desert environment modeling involving sand dune migration is important for better understanding of Earth and planetary surface processes. This paper presents a geographic information system (GIS) add-in for automated measurement of dune migration directions and migration rates using multitemporal, high-resolution digital elevation models (DEM) derived from light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data or other sources. Using the angle of repose (AOR) as a sensitive movement indicator of barchan (crescent-shaped) and transverse dunes, an add-in toolbar for ArcGIS was developed using the Python programming language to automatically detect, measure, and store dune migration direction and migration rate at random point locations on dune slip face centerlines. Pseudo-code and application samples from the White Sands dune field in New Mexico, USA, are also presented. The free add-in can be used by the geoscience community for studying coastal and desert sand dunes.1

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