LOW-COST, ULTRA-HIGH SPATIAL AND TEMPORAL RESOLUTION MAPPING OF INTERTIDAL ROCK PLATFORMS
Keywords: Photogrammetry, Mapping, High resolution, Three-dimensional, Coast, Ecology
Abstract. Intertidal ecosystems have primarily been studied using field-based sampling; remote sensing offers the ability to collect data over large areas in a snapshot of time which could compliment field-based sampling methods by extrapolating them into the wider spatial and temporal context. Conventional remote sensing tools (such as satellite and aircraft imaging) provide data at relatively course, sub-meter resolutions or with limited temporal resolutions and relatively high costs for small-scale environmental science and ecology studies. In this paper, we describe a low-cost, kite-based imaging system and photogrammetric pipeline that was developed for constructing highresolution, 3D, photo-realistic terrain models of intertidal rocky shores. The processing pipeline uses automatic image feature detection and matching, structure-from-motion and photo-textured terrain surface reconstruction algorithms that require minimal human input and only a small number of ground control points and allow the use of cheap, consumer-grade digital cameras. The resulting maps combine colour and topographic information at sub-centimeter resolutions over an area of approximately 100m, thus enabling spatial properties of the intertidal environment to be determined across a hierarchy of spatial scales. Results of the system are presented for an intertidal rock platform at Cape Banks, Sydney, Australia. Potential uses of this technique include mapping of plant (micro- and macro-algae) and animal (e.g. gastropods) assemblages at multiple spatial and temporal scales.