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Vegetation mapping, identifying the type and distribution of plant species, is important for analysing vegetation dynamics, quantifying spatial patterns of vegetation evolution, analysing the effectsof environmental changes and predicting spatial patterns of species diversity. Such analysis can contribute to the development of targeted land management actions that maintain biodiversity and ecological functions. This paper presents a methodology for 3D vegetation mapping of a coastal dune complex using a multispectral camera mounted on an unmanned aerial system with particular reference to the Buckroney dune complex in Co. Wicklow, Ireland. Unmanned aerial systems (UAS), also known as unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or drones, have enabled high-resolution and high-accuracy ground-based data to be gathered quickly and easily on-site. The Sequoia multispectral sensor used in this study has green, red, red edge and near-infrared wavebands, and a regular camer with red, green and blue wavebands (RGB camera), to capture both visible and near-infrared (NIR) imagery of the land surface. The workflow of 3D vegetation mapping of the study site included establishing coordinated ground control points, planning the flight mission and camera parameters, acquiring the imagery, processing the image data and performing features classification. The data processing outcomes included an orthomosaic model, a 3D surface model and multispectral imagery of the study site, in the Irish Transverse Mercator (ITM) coordinate system. The planimetric resolution of the RGB sensor-based outcomes was 0.024 m while multispectral sensor-based outcomes had a planimetric resolution of 0.096 m. High-resolution vegetation mapping was successfully generated from these data processing outcomes. There were 235 sample areas (1 m 1 m) used for the accuracy assessment of the classification of the vegetation mapping. Feature classification was conducted using nine diferent classification strategies to examine the efficiency of multispectral sensor data for vegetation and contiguous land cover mapping. The nine classification strategies included combinations of spectral bands and vegetation indices. Results show classification accuracies, based on the nine different classification strategies, ranging from 52% to 75%.
Suo, C., McGovern, E. & Gilmer, A. (2019). Coastal Dune Vegetation Mapping Using a Multispectral Sensor Mounted on an UAS. Remote Sensing, 17(15). doi:10.3390/rs11151814