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Article

Measuring Height Characteristics of Sagebrush (Artemisia sp.) Using Imagery Derived from Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS)

1
Department of Plant and Wildlife Sciences, 4105B LSB, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602, USA
2
Department of Geography, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT 84602, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 24 December 2019 / Revised: 13 February 2020 / Accepted: 14 February 2020 / Published: 19 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecological Applications of Drone-Based Remote Sensing)
In situ measurements of sagebrush have traditionally been expensive and time consuming. Currently, improvements in small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS) technology can be used to quantify sagebrush morphology and community structure with high resolution imagery on western rangelands, especially in sensitive habitat of the Greater sage-grouse (Centrocercus urophasianus). The emergence of photogrammetry algorithms to generate 3D point clouds from true color imagery can potentially increase the efficiency and accuracy of measuring shrub height in sage-grouse habitat. Our objective was to determine optimal parameters for measuring sagebrush height including flight altitude, single- vs. double- pass, and continuous vs. pause features. We acquired imagery using a DJI Mavic Pro 2 multi-rotor Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) equipped with an RGB camera, flown at 30.5, 45, 75, and 120 m and implementing single-pass and double-pass methods, using continuous flight and paused flight for each photo method. We generated a Digital Surface Model (DSM) from which we derived plant height, and then performed an accuracy assessment using on the ground measurements taken at the time of flight. We found high correlation between field measured heights and estimated heights, with a mean difference of approximately 10 cm (SE = 0.4 cm) and little variability in accuracy between flights with different heights and other parameters after statistical correction using linear regression. We conclude that higher altitude flights using a single-pass method are optimal to measure sagebrush height due to lower requirements in data storage and processing time. View Full-Text
Keywords: greater sage-grouse; sagebrush; sUAS; photogrammetry greater sage-grouse; sagebrush; sUAS; photogrammetry
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MDPI and ACS Style

Howell, R.G.; Jensen, R.R.; Petersen, S.L.; Larsen, R.T. Measuring Height Characteristics of Sagebrush (Artemisia sp.) Using Imagery Derived from Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS). Drones 2020, 4, 6. https://doi.org/10.3390/drones4010006

AMA Style

Howell RG, Jensen RR, Petersen SL, Larsen RT. Measuring Height Characteristics of Sagebrush (Artemisia sp.) Using Imagery Derived from Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS). Drones. 2020; 4(1):6. https://doi.org/10.3390/drones4010006

Chicago/Turabian Style

Howell, Ryan G., Ryan R. Jensen, Steven L. Petersen, and Randy T. Larsen 2020. "Measuring Height Characteristics of Sagebrush (Artemisia sp.) Using Imagery Derived from Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (sUAS)" Drones 4, no. 1: 6. https://doi.org/10.3390/drones4010006

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