Cliff Feature Delineation Tool and Baseline Builder Tool, Version 1.0 User Guide

Open-File Report 2020-1070
By: , and 



Coastal cliffs constitute 80 percent of the world’s coastline, with seacliffs fronting a large proportion of the U.S. West Coast shoreline, particularly in California. Erosion of coastal cliffs can threaten infrastructure and human life, yet the spatial and temporal scope of cliff studies have been limited by cumbersome traditional methods that rely on the manual interpretation of seacliff features—especially seacliff toes and top edges. The Cliff Feature Delineation Tool (CFDT) and the Baseline Builder Tool are designed to increase the efficiency of deriving seacliff features from remote sensing datasets by utilizing an automated, quantitative approach that eliminates traditional interpretive methods and ensures reproducibility. This document functions as a user guide for operating the Cliff Feature Delineation Tool and Baseline Builder Tool and includes a walkthrough of data-visualization and data-review workflows for the tools’ three-dimensional (3D) cliff feature outputs. Also included is a brief overview of cliff feature delineation at the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and a detailed description of the tools’ algorithmic logic.

Suggested Citation

Seymour, A.C., Hapke, C.J., and Warrick, J., 2020, Cliff Feature Delineation Tool and Baseline Builder version 1.0 user guide: U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report 2020–1070, 54 p.,

ISSN: 2331-1258 (online)

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Algorithm Logic
  • 3. Installation
  • 4. Input Data Requirements
  • 5. Running the Tool
  • 6. Using the Baseline Builder Tool and Vectorizing an Offshore Baseline
  • 7. Visualizing and Reviewing Cliff Feature Delineation Tool Outputs
  • Acknowledgments
  • References Cited
  • Glossary
Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Cliff Feature Delineation Tool and Baseline Builder version 1.0 user guide
Series title Open-File Report
Series number 2020-1070
DOI 10.3133/ofr20201070
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center
Description Report: vi, 54 p.; Data Release
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
Additional publication details