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Remote Sens. 2014, 6(5), 4003-4024; doi:10.3390/rs6054003

Spatial Co-Registration of Ultra-High Resolution Visible, Multispectral and Thermal Images Acquired with a Micro-UAV over Antarctic Moss Beds

1
School of Land and Food, University of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS 7001, Australia
2
Institute for Conservation Biology and Environmental Management, School of Biological Sciences, University of Wollongong, NSW 2522, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 17 January 2014 / Revised: 15 April 2014 / Accepted: 15 April 2014 / Published: 2 May 2014
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Abstract

In recent times, the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) as tools for environmental remote sensing has become more commonplace. Compared to traditional airborne remote sensing, UAVs can provide finer spatial resolution data (up to 1 cm/pixel) and higher temporal resolution data. For the purposes of vegetation monitoring, the use of multiple sensors such as near infrared and thermal infrared cameras are of benefit. Collecting data with multiple sensors, however, requires an accurate spatial co-registration of the various UAV image datasets. In this study, we used an Oktokopter UAV to investigate the physiological state of Antarctic moss ecosystems using three sensors: (i) a visible camera (1 cm/pixel), (ii) a 6 band multispectral camera (3 cm/pixel), and (iii) a thermal infrared camera (10 cm/pixel). Imagery from each sensor was geo-referenced and mosaicked with a combination of commercially available software and our own algorithms based on the Scale Invariant Feature Transform (SIFT). The validation of the mosaic’s spatial co-registration revealed a mean root mean squared error (RMSE) of 1.78 pixels. A thematic map of moss health, derived from the multispectral mosaic using a Modified Triangular Vegetation Index (MTVI2), and an indicative map of moss surface temperature were then combined to demonstrate sufficient accuracy of our co-registration methodology for UAV-based monitoring of Antarctic moss beds.
Keywords: UAV; image co-registration; multispectral; thermal infrared; Antarctica; moss UAV; image co-registration; multispectral; thermal infrared; Antarctica; moss
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Turner, D.; Lucieer, A.; Malenovský, Z.; King, D.H.; Robinson, S.A. Spatial Co-Registration of Ultra-High Resolution Visible, Multispectral and Thermal Images Acquired with a Micro-UAV over Antarctic Moss Beds. Remote Sens. 2014, 6, 4003-4024.

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