Find The Length of a Coastline Hypothesis

Sat, 12/09/2017 - 21:36

So, I was watching a Numberfile video on YouTube about finding the length of the British coast line.

The end conclusion in the video was that mathematically, it was impossible.

In the comments another poster suggested that a physicist would simply lay down a string along the coast and stretch it out to measure it as a single line.

Well, this got me to thinking about how I might approach this as a programmer.

My suggestion is that if you know the resolution and scale of a satellite photo. Say a pixel is a mile squared, for example.

Then you should be able to lower the color depth down to ... maybe black and white if necessary. Then discard the ocean pixels. 

This would leave you with the land...So now run an algorithm to find the outline and discard everything except the coast.

Now...just count the pixels.

Based on that you now should know the length of the coast of Great Britain. ... 

100 pixels for example = a coastline of 100 miles.

Obviously this is something that others have noticed before but, it was kind of neat that it just kind of came to me so easily.

It's true I do this for a living, solve puzzles ... still ...Lately, these sorts of things are coming to me a bit more easily and I like when that happens.

pixels to determine coast length

 Addendum: I decided to create an algorithm to accomplish this task. The article can be found here.