I have a more general, methodological question and do not have much knowledge about GIS techniques.
I have 6 topographic survey ([x,y,z] point clouds), each representing the same dune/beach system at different points in time. The surveys were conducted so as to have each point be as close as possible to the same point in the previous survey. Of course, the positions are not actually identical, but do represent the evolution of the beach at a given point through time due to storms, etc.
I would like to compare the change in elevation through time on a point-by-point basis. Should I just define a buffer around each point in a survey and clip the successive survey, in an attempt to capture the correct point in the buffer for comparison?
The data sets have 10000+ points and I can envision this become sloppy with overlapping buffers, etc. If you know of a more precise method or strategy to tackle this problem, let me know and I can read the documentation. Also, if I need to rephrase the question, let me know, my GIS lingo is also poor.