WETLAND ASSESSMENT USING UNMANNED AERIAL VEHICLE (UAV) PHOTOGRAMMETRY
Keywords: Unmanned Arial Vehicle Photogrammetry, Remote sensing, 3D point clouds and surface models, Wetland delineation and classification, Wetland health assessment
Abstract. The use of Unmanned Arial Vehicle (UAV) photogrammetry is a valuable tool to enhance our understanding of wetlands. Accurate planning derived from this technological advancement allows for more effective management and conservation of wetland areas. This paper presents results of a study that aimed at investigating the use of UAV photogrammetry as a tool to enhance the assessment of wetland ecosystems. The UAV images were collected during a single flight within 2½ hours over a 100 ha area at the Kameelzynkraal farm, Gauteng Province, South Africa. An AKS Y-6 MKII multi-rotor UAV and a digital camera on a motion compensated gimbal mount were utilised for the survey. Twenty ground control points (GCPs) were surveyed using a Trimble GPS to achieve geometrical precision and georeferencing accuracy. Structure-from-Motion (SfM) computer vision techniques were used to derive ultra-high resolution point clouds, orthophotos and 3D models from the multi-view photos. The geometric accuracy of the data based on the 20 GCP’s were 0.018 m for the overall, 0.0025 m for the vertical root mean squared error (RMSE) and an over all root mean square reprojection error of 0.18 pixel. The UAV products were then edited and subsequently analysed, interpreted and key attributes extracted using a selection of tools/ software applications to enhance the wetland assessment. The results exceeded our expectations and provided a valuable and accurate enhancement to the wetland delineation, classification and health assessment which even with detailed field studies would have been difficult to achieve.