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Sustainability scientists often face a difficult task to conduct research or carry out preliminary investigations around coastal areas in developing countries, due to the limitation in the availability of topographical and bathymetry data. These limitations can be particularly important for the case of ports, on which the livelihoods of many fishing communities depend on. Often, cost is cited as a reason regarding the absence of any such data. However, in the present technical note the authors highlight how existing “low-level” surveying methods can be inexpensive and allow sustainability scientists to conduct a reasonably accurate survey for less than 1,000 USD, provided that researchers possess a reasonable knowledge of mathematics and geometry (high-school equivalent).