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Autonomous Vehicles Mapping Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia

Laboratory for Underwater Systems and Technologies (LABUST), Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computing, University of Zagreb, Unska 3, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Croatian Geological Survey, Sachsova 2, 10000 Zagreb, Croatia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(22), 3683;
Received: 15 October 2020 / Revised: 5 November 2020 / Accepted: 8 November 2020 / Published: 10 November 2020
Plitvice Lakes National Park is the largest national park in Croatia and also the oldest from 1949. It was added to the UNESCO World Natural Heritage List in 1979, due to the unique physicochemical and biological conditions that have led to the creation of 16 named and several smaller unnamed lakes, which are cascading one into the next. Previous scientific research proved that the increased amount of dissolved organic matter (pollution) stops the travertine processes on Plitvice Lakes. Therefore, this complex, dynamic but also fragile geological, biological and hydrological system required a comprehensive limnological survey. Thirteen of the sixteen lakes mentioned above were initially surveyed from the air by an unmanned aircraft equipped with a survey grade GNSS and a full frame high-resolution full-screen camera. From these recordings, a georeferenced, high-resolution orthophoto was generated, on which the following surveys by a multibeam sonar depended. It is important to mention that this was the first time that these lakes had ever been surveyed both with the multibeam sonar technique and with such a high-resolution camera. Due to the fact that these thirteen lakes are difficult to reach and often too shallow for a boat-mounted sonar, a special autonomous surface vehicle was developed. The lakes were surveyed by the autonomous surface vehicle mounted with a multibeam sonar to create detailed bathymetric models of the lakes. The missions were planned for the surface vehicle based on the orthophoto from the preliminary studies. A detailed description of the methodology used to survey the different lakes is given here. In addition, the resulting high-resolution bathymetric maps are presented and analysed together with an overview of average, maximum depths and number of data points. Numerous interesting depressions, which are phenomena consistent with previous studies of Plitvice Lakes, are noted at the lake beds and their causes are discussed. This study shows the huge potential of remote sensing technologies integrated into autonomous vehicles in terms of much faster surveys, several orders of magnitude more data points (compared to manual surveys of a few decades ago), as well as data accuracy, precision and georeferencing. View Full-Text
Keywords: autonomous surface vehicle; unmanned aerial vehicle; multibeam sonar; bathymetry; photogrammetry autonomous surface vehicle; unmanned aerial vehicle; multibeam sonar; bathymetry; photogrammetry
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MDPI and ACS Style

Kapetanović, N.; Kordić, B.; Vasilijević, A.; Nađ, Đ.; Mišković, N. Autonomous Vehicles Mapping Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia. Remote Sens. 2020, 12, 3683.

AMA Style

Kapetanović N, Kordić B, Vasilijević A, Nađ Đ, Mišković N. Autonomous Vehicles Mapping Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia. Remote Sensing. 2020; 12(22):3683.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Kapetanović, Nadir, Branko Kordić, Antonio Vasilijević, Đula Nađ, and Nikola Mišković. 2020. "Autonomous Vehicles Mapping Plitvice Lakes National Park, Croatia" Remote Sensing 12, no. 22: 3683.

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