How Long is the Coastline of Great Britain

Topics: Measurement, Tide, Units of measurement Pages: 3 (809 words) Published: October 30, 2014
This report is to outline and explain the methods and techniques used to measure the coastline of the UK . We will evaluate each method available giving its strengths and weaknesses and discuss which one is the more accurate and which is the most practical for our purposes . Also what problems arise from measuring the

coastline , such as application of the method and human error but main factor which is the coastline paradox .

So why is it difficult to measure the coastline , well there could be substantial amount of human error if the method isn't carried out properly , such as missing bits of coastline and miss reading the scale , when added up can create a wide range for error. Also there will be fluxuation in the results due to the position of the tide , as low tide will have a larger length while high tide will give a reduced length , so there is not set time when it is measured . Furthermore, the coastline is not well defined , as its not specifically stated if its where the boundary between the sea and land or is it from the continental shelf.

The coastline Paradox presents a significant problem , as the coastline is not well defined , the length is dependant on the scale you use to measure it with, which increases without a limit as the scale increases , so it is infinite .This property is do to it being a fractal , which is a object that has a repeating pattern at every scale , such as snowflakes . This gives rise to the question is the coastline infinite or has a value , by maths it is infinite but for practical purposes ,such as Geography or for example dividing the North Sea Gas & Oil reserves up between its neighbours , it has a value.

Measuring the Length of the UK Coastline

There are two methods available to us at the current time , using Ruler method along the boundary of the images provided for us to get a approximate measurement of the UK coastline . Also there is the box dimension method, to find out its fractal...
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