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Article

Monitoring Dynamic Braided River Habitats: Applicability and Efficacy of Aerial Photogrammetry from Manned Aircraft versus Unmanned Aerial Systems

1
Zoology Department, Otago University, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
2
School of Geography, Otago University, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
3
Department of Conservation, Dunedin 9016, New Zealand
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Higinio González Jorge and Margarita Mulero-Pazmany
Drones 2021, 5(2), 39; https://doi.org/10.3390/drones5020039
Received: 30 March 2021 / Revised: 10 May 2021 / Accepted: 14 May 2021 / Published: 17 May 2021
(This article belongs to the Collection Feature Papers of Drones)
Despite growing interest in using lightweight unmanned aerial systems (UASs) for ecological research and conservation, review of the operational aspects of these evolving technologies is limited in the scientific literature. To derive an objective framework for choosing among technologies we calculated efficiency measures and conducted a data envelopment productivity frontier analysis (DEA) to compare the efficacy of using manned aircraft (Cessna with Aviatrix triggered image capture using a 50 mm lens) and UAS (Mavic Pro 2) for photogrammetric monitoring of restoration efforts in dynamic braided rivers in Southern New Zealand. Efficacy assessment was based on the technological, logistical, administrative, and economic requirements of pre (planning), peri (image acquiring) and post (image processing) phases. The results reveal that the technological and logistic aspects of UASs were more efficient than manned aircraft flights. Administratively, the first deployment of UASs is less efficient but was very flexible for subsequent deployment. Manned aircraft flights were more productive in terms of the number of acquired images, but the ground resolution of those images was lower compared with those from UASs. Frontier analysis confirmed that UASs would be economical for regular monitoring of habitats—and even more so if research personnel are trained to fly the UASs. View Full-Text
Keywords: unmanned aerial systems (UAS); aerial photogrammetry; habitat monitoring; braided river habitats; efficiency; data envelopment analysis (DEA) unmanned aerial systems (UAS); aerial photogrammetry; habitat monitoring; braided river habitats; efficiency; data envelopment analysis (DEA)
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MDPI and ACS Style

Khan, M.S.I.; Ohlemüller, R.; Maloney, R.F.; Seddon, P.J. Monitoring Dynamic Braided River Habitats: Applicability and Efficacy of Aerial Photogrammetry from Manned Aircraft versus Unmanned Aerial Systems. Drones 2021, 5, 39. https://doi.org/10.3390/drones5020039

AMA Style

Khan MSI, Ohlemüller R, Maloney RF, Seddon PJ. Monitoring Dynamic Braided River Habitats: Applicability and Efficacy of Aerial Photogrammetry from Manned Aircraft versus Unmanned Aerial Systems. Drones. 2021; 5(2):39. https://doi.org/10.3390/drones5020039

Chicago/Turabian Style

Khan, M S.I.; Ohlemüller, Ralf; Maloney, Richard F.; Seddon, Philip J. 2021. "Monitoring Dynamic Braided River Habitats: Applicability and Efficacy of Aerial Photogrammetry from Manned Aircraft versus Unmanned Aerial Systems" Drones 5, no. 2: 39. https://doi.org/10.3390/drones5020039

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