Optical wave gauging using deep neural networks

Coastal Engineering
By: , and 



We develop a remote wave gauging technique to estimate wave height and period from imagery of waves in the surf zone. In this proof-of-concept study, we apply the same framework to three datasets: the first, a set of close-range monochrome infrared (IR) images of individual nearshore waves at Duck, NC, USA; the second, a set of visible (i.e. RGB) band orthomosaics of a larger nearshore area near Santa Cruz, CA, USA; and the third, a set of oblique (unrectified) images from the same site. The network is trained using coincident images and in situ wave measurements. The optical wave gauge (OWG) consists of a deep convolutional neural network (CNN) to extract features from imagery — called a ‘base model’, with additional layers to distill the feature information into lower dimensional spaces, and a final layer of dense neurons to predict continuously varying quantities. Four base models are compared. The OWG is trained for both individual wave height and period, and statistical quantities like significant wave height and peak wave period. The best performing OWG on the IR dataset achieved RMS errors of 0.14 m and 0.41 s for height and period, respectively, capturing up to 98% of the variance in these quantities. The best performing OWG on the visible band rectified dataset achieved RMS errors of 0.08 m and 0.79 s, respectively, for height and period. The same values for the oblique RGB imagery were 0.11 m and 0.81 s for height and period, respectively. Overall, wave height and period accuracy is sensitive to choice of base model; OWGs built upon MobilenetV2 tend to perform worst and those built on Inception-ResnetV2 have the smallest RMS error. The presence or otherwise of residual layers in the model makes little systematic difference to the final OWG accuracy. Smaller batch sizes used in model training tend to result in more accurate OWGs. An out-of-calibration validation, using images associated with wave heights or periods outside the range of values represented in the training data, showed that the ability for OWGs to predict the bottom 5% of low wave heights and the top 5% of high wave heights was reasonably good, but the same was not generally true of wave period. The same framework, not optimized for either dataset, predicts both quantities with high accuracy when trained on imagery, despite the differences in electromagnetic band, perspective, and scale. The OWG estimates wave properties from an image in less than 100 ms on a modestly sized CPU, allowing for the possibility of continuous real-time wave estimates.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Optical wave gauging using deep neural networks
Series title Coastal Engineering
DOI 10.1016/j.coastaleng.2019.103593
Volume 155
Year Published 2019
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description 103593, 18 p.
Country United States
State California, North Carolina
County Santa Cruz, Duck
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