Publication Abstract

Defining Surface Land Cover Features Using High Resolution Imagery from Unmanned Aerial Systems

Zarzar, C., Dash, P., Moorhead, R. J., Dyer, J., & Turnage, G. (2016). Defining Surface Land Cover Features Using High Resolution Imagery from Unmanned Aerial Systems. 2016 Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill & Ecosystem Science Conference Proceedings. Tampa, FL: GOMRI.


This project utilizes Unmanned Aerial Systems (UASs) imagery from a series of UAS missions flown over southern Louisiana to develop a method for identification and classification of land cover and surface water features. The system is being flown every two months providing a seasonal record that is important for identifying both the temporal and spatial changes in vegetation and stream networks. Using high resolution UAS imagery, change detection analyses quantify these temporal and spatial changes providing important information towards understanding the impacts of oil spills, hurricanes, and upstream pollutants. Similarly, this high precision stream network delineation within the estuary can help improve accuracy of future oil spill damage assessments by increasing our understanding of waterways and potential movement of oil. UAS imagery will prove to be instrumental in pre and post storm analyses because it is less resource intensive than satellite, field surveys, or manned aerial systems reconnaissance. Therefore, it would be possible to collect high resolution UAS imagery before and after an impending storm to identify damage and storm induced changes to the landscape. Furthermore, it is also possible to collect information about harmful algal blooms, suspended sediments, and colored dissolved organic matter from UAS data which can provide valuable information about the health of aquatic ecosystems.