COMPARISON OF COMMERCIAL STRUCTURE-FROM-MOTION PHOTOGRAMMETY SOFTWARE USED FOR UNDERWATER THREE-DIMENSIONAL MODELING OF CORAL REEF ENVIRONMENTS
Keywords: Coral Reefs, Coral Ecology, Habitat, Photogrammetry, Structure-from-Motion, Structural Complexity, 3D topographic reconstruction, 3D underwater modeling, Agisoft Photoscan, Pix4D
Abstract. Structural complexity in ecosystems creates an assortment of microhabitat types and has been shown to support greater diversity and abundance of associated organisms. The 3D structure of an environment also directly affects important ecological parameters such as habitat provisioning and light availability and can therefore strongly influence ecosystem function. Coral reefs are architecturally complex 3D habitats, whose structure is intrinsically linked to the ecosystem biodiversity, productivity, and function. The field of coral ecology has, however, been primarily limited to using 2-dimensional (2D) planar survey techniques for studying the physical structure of reefs. This conventional approach fails to capture or quantify the intricate structural complexity of corals that influences habitat facilitation and biodiversity. A 3-dimensional (3D) approach can obtain accurate measurements of architectural complexity, topography, rugosity, volume, and other structural characteristics that affect biodiversity and abundance of reef organisms. Structurefrom- Motion (SfM) photogrammetry is an emerging computer vision technology that provides a simple and cost-effective method for 3D reconstruction of natural environments. SfM has been used in several studies to investigate the relationship between habitat complexity and ecological processes in coral reef ecosystems. This study compared two commercial SfM software packages, Agisoft Photoscan Pro and Pix4Dmapper Pro 3.1, in order to assess the cpaability and spatial accuracy of these programs for conducting 3D modeling of coral reef habitats at three spatial scales.