Coastal towns from Brazil to Belgium are using people-power to track changes to coastal conditions due to processes such as storms, rising sea levels, and human activities.

From 1 July 2021, Nelsonians have also been able to take part.

Carefully calibrated phone cradles have been installed at Tahunanui Beach, Kinzett Terrace, the Boulder Bank, Cable Bay and Monaco, allowing thousands of people to take photos of the coastline from the exact same point over a long time period.

The photographic data collected will be used to monitor shoreline changes and show how different beaches respond to the changing ocean conditions.

“Our beaches and coastlines can erode and recover over time with changing ocean conditions, such as storm events and sea-level rise,” says Nelson City Council’s Coastal and Marine Scientist Vikki Ambrose.

“Sand can be removed from the beach by large waves and high tides and scattered offshore, leading to beach erosion. Sand can also be returned by calmer waves and may build the beach out again over time.”

Once enough photos have been collected, a time-lapse video can be created showing the change to the shoreline over time.

To take part, visit The Shape Nelson website to find the exact location of a CoastSnap phone cradle, and download the CoastSnap app on the Google Play/Apple Store.

You can either take a photo directly using the CoastSnap app or email your photo directly to if you don’t have the app. 

Using the app means you simply have to take the photo and hit upload. If you are emailing your photo directly, please make sure the image is:
  • Unedited
  • Not zoomed
  • Not filtered

If you can't email the photo straight away, please include the date and time it was taken.

Council’s Environment and Climate Committee Chair Kate Fulton said she was looking forward to using CoastSnap.

“Tackling climate change, and the changes to our environment we will see, as a result, is a global group effort. Citizen Science Projects like this are an opportunity for everyone to help sustain and manage our treasured coastal environments."