Classifying wetland vegetation using airborne and satellite imagery

Grant Lawrence
Auckland Council Research and Evaluation Unit, RIMU
Publication date:

The use of remote sensing to provide an increased understanding of coastal wetland environments has not yet been realised in New Zealand. Identification, monitoring and good management of New Zealand’s remaining wetland assets is an important task for local authorities such as Auckland Council. Wetland ecosystems are usually difficult to negotiate resulting in logistically demanding and potentially destructive field surveys. Remote sensing techniques such as airborne and satellite imaging can provide a more effective and economical way to inventory and map wetland environments.

Remotely sensed imagery has been proven to be advantageous for monitoring wetland and coastal ecosystems at a national and regional scale; however it is more difficult for fine scale mapping, requiring extensive ground-truthing and validation. A major limitation of field-based ground-truthing in wetlands is the inability to survey hard to reach areas. With the availability of UAS (Un-manned Aerial Systems) technology to capture high resolution imagery, it is now possible to survey entire wetlands, particularly inaccessible locations. By using UAS imagery for ground-truthing and combining it with high resolution satellite imagery we hope to improve fine scale mapping techniques of complex wetland systems.

RIMU masters student research summary

MSc thesis, AUT

Using satellite imagery and novel low altitude aerial imagery to classify coastal wetland vegetation for change detection at Whatipu Scientific Reserve, Auckland, New Zealand