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Remote Sens. 2017, 9(7), 715; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs9070715

Assessing the Value of UAV Photogrammetry for Characterizing Terrain in Complex Peatlands

Department of Geography, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, Canada
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Received: 26 April 2017 / Revised: 13 June 2017 / Accepted: 6 July 2017 / Published: 12 July 2017
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Remote Sensing)
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Abstract

Microtopographic variability in peatlands has a strong influence on greenhouse gas fluxes, but we lack the ability to characterize terrain in these environments efficiently over large areas. To address this, we assessed the capacity of photogrammetric data acquired from an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV or drone) to reproduce ground elevations measured in the field. In particular, we set out to evaluate the role of (i) vegetation/surface complexity and (ii) supplementary LiDAR data on results. We compared remote-sensing observations to reference measurements acquired with survey grade GPS equipment at 678 sample points, distributed across a 61-hectare treed bog in northwestern Alberta, Canada. UAV photogrammetric data were found to capture elevation with accuracies, by root mean squares error, ranging from 14–42 cm, depending on the state of vegetation/surface complexity. We judge the technology to perform well under all but the most-complex conditions, where ground visibility is hindered by thick vegetation. Supplementary LiDAR data did not improve results significantly, nor did it perform well as a stand-alone technology at the low densities typically available to researchers. View Full-Text
Keywords: UAV; photogrammetry; LiDAR; terrain; peatlands; microtopography; point clouds UAV; photogrammetry; LiDAR; terrain; peatlands; microtopography; point clouds
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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MDPI and ACS Style

Lovitt, J.; Rahman, M.M.; McDermid, G.J. Assessing the Value of UAV Photogrammetry for Characterizing Terrain in Complex Peatlands. Remote Sens. 2017, 9, 715.

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