Extraction of tidal channel networks from aerial photographs alone and combined with laser altimetry
Lohani, B., Mason, D. C., Scott, T. R. and Sreenivas, B. (2006) Extraction of tidal channel networks from aerial photographs alone and combined with laser altimetry. International Journal of Remote Sensing, 27 (1). pp. 5-25. ISSN 0143-1161
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Tidal channel networks play an important role in the intertidal zone, exerting substantial control over the hydrodynamics and sediment transport of the region and hence over the evolution of the salt marshes and tidal flats. The study of the morphodynamics of tidal channels is currently an active area of research, and a number of theories have been proposed which require for their validation measurement of channels over extensive areas. Remotely sensed data provide a suitable means for such channel mapping. The paper describes a technique that may be adapted to extract tidal channels from either aerial photographs or LiDAR data separately, or from both types of data used together in a fusion approach. Application of the technique to channel extraction from LiDAR data has been described previously. However, aerial photographs of intertidal zones are much more commonly available than LiDAR data, and most LiDAR flights now involve acquisition of multispectral images to complement the LiDAR data. In view of this, the paper investigates the use of multispectral data for semiautomatic identification of tidal channels, firstly from only aerial photographs or linescanner data, and secondly from fused linescanner and LiDAR data sets. A multi-level, knowledge-based approach is employed. The algorithm based on aerial photography can achieve a useful channel extraction, though may fail to detect some of the smaller channels, partly because the spectral response of parts of the non-channel areas may be similar to that of the channels. The algorithm for channel extraction from fused LiDAR and spectral data gives an increased accuracy, though only slightly higher than that obtained using LiDAR data alone. The results illustrate the difficulty of developing a fully automated method, and justify the semi-automatic approach adopted.
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