PhD Position `CoastScan`: Coastal variability and resilience assessment by permanent laser scanning

Research / Academic


Within the CoastScan project you will develop, implement and validate methodology to extract and parameterize changes from 24/7 Permanent Laser Scanning (PLS) topographic beach data. The overall goal of the CoastScan project is to obtain better understanding on  how a sandy beach changes in between storm periods. During those periods, changes are relatively small and were, until now, difficult to measure. PLS involves a terrestrial laser scanner that is mounted on a fixed position like a beach hotel  and scanning the beach at regular (hourly) intervals. This setup results in an unprecedented 3D space-time cube of topographic beach data, consisting easily of thousands of consecutive point clouds of beach topography. Until now, little experience exists on how to efficiently  extract valid geometric information from such data set. Your work will be organized along three subtasks:

1.a: PLS acquisition optimization and validation. How to optimally acquire repeated point cloud data and how to evaluate the quality of the acquisitions?

1.b: PLS spatio-temporal data mining for change detection and terrain classification relevant to coastal morphology studies.

1.c: Develop methods to efficiently store, distribute and visualize dynamic PLS derived changes

Within the CoastScan project you will closely cooperate with a PostDoc working on the interpretation of the changes involving coastal processes. This PostDoc work is led by dr. Sierd de Vries (Assistant Professor) at the coastal engineering section of the same faculty. This collaboration and the combination of developing in depth remote sensing techniques and explaining unknown processes regarding coastal morphology is unique for both the fields of coastal morphology and remote sensing.    


You hold a MSc degree in Geodesy, Geoinformatics, Computer Vision, Data Science or another relevant topic. You have an affinity with geomorphological applications, and enjoy it to go out for in situ validation of results. You like programming, for example in C++ or Python, and have proven experience in handling big data sets. You are able to express yourself clearly in the English language, both on paper and in discussion, and are looking forward to work together with other people in the project and the faculty.

You will work together with two  top academic groups in the world related to geodesy and  coastal processes. Doing a PhD in Delft is challenging but highly rewarding. You get the opportunity to develop your own ideas, to present these at conferences and publish. You are surrounded and supervised by the best researchers in the field. In the Dept. of Geoscience and Remote Sensing there is a strong community of PhD students. For research, PhD students get freedom and responsibility and if you will be able to travel to different places and make international friends. Delft itself is a great place with many bars and restaurants and close to historical cities like Rotterdam, Utrecht and Amsterdam. And Schiphol Amsterdam airport is only 35’ away.   

Salary Benefits:

TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, a discount for health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged. An International Children’s Centre offers childcare and an international primary school. Dual Career Services offers support to accompanying partners. Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities.

As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment; an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor; and a Doctoral Education Programme aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills. Please visit for more information.

Work Hours:

38 - 40 hours per week


Stevinweg 1