Presentation Abstract

Rapid improvements in small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and image processing software have made aerial mapping of intertidal habitats feasible. UAVs are viable tool for comprehensively collecting information in nearshore and shallow subtidal project areas to characterize both seabed elevations as digital surface models and to characterize the presence or absence of vegetation throughout a survey area. This has facilitated mapping eelgrass and other intertidal resources. By capturing information about the entire survey area, UAV based mapping overcomes limitations associated with line intersect and quadrat-based sampling methods. Further, the aerial perspective may allow for the identification and interpretation of patterns of vegetation change or response to disease, anthropogenic or natural features that are not easily identified from the ground. UAVs provide a lower elevation platform for capturing imagery than traditional plane-based platforms, and allows surveys to target tidal elevations appropriate for surveys. However, these benefits come with tradeoffs such as the limited endurance of UAVs, and regulatory maximum flight elevation. Examples of aerial mapping of intertidal habitats from a range of locations, including Samish Bay, Kitsap Peninsula, Hood Canal, and South Puget Sound provides tangible lessons for how to appropriately harness this emerging tool to map intertidal habitats. Weather, light, tidal elevation, UAV flight elevation and time of year all influence the observations made with UAVs. Ultimately, imagery can be interpreted using a wide range of methods including supervised or unsupervised classification which may result in pixel by pixel mapping or be generalized into areas. Virtual ground truthing using low elevation reconnaissance with the UAV coupled with ground observations may be used to demonstrate the accuracy of UAV mapping efforts. Examples of inter-annual monitoring will also demonstrate the potential utility of UAV based mapping to track changes in shoreform or vegetation over time.

Session Title

Structure from Motion and Drone Aerial Imagery for Coastal Restoration and Management

Keywords

Drone, UAV, UAS, Intertidal, Mapping, Eelgrass, Structure from motion

Conference Track

SSE15: Data and Information Management

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE15-279

Start Date

4-4-2018 4:30 PM

End Date

4-4-2018 4:45 PM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 4th, 4:30 PM Apr 4th, 4:45 PM

Mapping intertidal vegetation using small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs)

Rapid improvements in small unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and image processing software have made aerial mapping of intertidal habitats feasible. UAVs are viable tool for comprehensively collecting information in nearshore and shallow subtidal project areas to characterize both seabed elevations as digital surface models and to characterize the presence or absence of vegetation throughout a survey area. This has facilitated mapping eelgrass and other intertidal resources. By capturing information about the entire survey area, UAV based mapping overcomes limitations associated with line intersect and quadrat-based sampling methods. Further, the aerial perspective may allow for the identification and interpretation of patterns of vegetation change or response to disease, anthropogenic or natural features that are not easily identified from the ground. UAVs provide a lower elevation platform for capturing imagery than traditional plane-based platforms, and allows surveys to target tidal elevations appropriate for surveys. However, these benefits come with tradeoffs such as the limited endurance of UAVs, and regulatory maximum flight elevation. Examples of aerial mapping of intertidal habitats from a range of locations, including Samish Bay, Kitsap Peninsula, Hood Canal, and South Puget Sound provides tangible lessons for how to appropriately harness this emerging tool to map intertidal habitats. Weather, light, tidal elevation, UAV flight elevation and time of year all influence the observations made with UAVs. Ultimately, imagery can be interpreted using a wide range of methods including supervised or unsupervised classification which may result in pixel by pixel mapping or be generalized into areas. Virtual ground truthing using low elevation reconnaissance with the UAV coupled with ground observations may be used to demonstrate the accuracy of UAV mapping efforts. Examples of inter-annual monitoring will also demonstrate the potential utility of UAV based mapping to track changes in shoreform or vegetation over time.