Research Papers

Unmanned aerial vehicle-based remote sensing for rangeland assessment, monitoring, and management

[+] Author Affiliations
Albert Rango

Jornada Experimental Range, USDA-ARS, 2995 Knox Street, Las Cruces, NM 88003

Andrea Laliberte

Jornada Experimental Range, New Mexico State University, 2995 Knox Street, Las Cruces, NM 88003

Jeffrey E. Herrick

Jornada Experimental Range, USDA-ARS, 2995 Knox Street, Las Cruces, NM 88003

Craig Winters

Jornada Experimental Range, New Mexico State University, 2995 Knox Street, Las Cruces, NM 88003

Kris Havstad

Jornada Experimental Range, USDA-ARS, 2995 Knox Street, Las Cruces, NM 88003

Caiti Steele

Jornada Experimental Range, New Mexico State University, 2995 Knox Street, Las Cruces, NM 88003

Dawn Browning

Jornada Experimental Range, USDA-ARS, 2995 Knox Street, Las Cruces, NM 88003

J. Appl. Remote Sens. 3(1), 033542 (August 13, 2009). doi:10.1117/1.3216822
History: Received April 29, 2009; Revised July 20, 2009; Accepted August 11, 2009; August 13, 2009; Online August 13, 2009
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Abstract

Rangeland comprises as much as 70% of the Earth's land surface area. Much of this vast space is in very remote areas that are expensive and often impossible to access on the ground. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) have great potential for rangeland management. UAVs have several advantages over satellites and piloted aircraft: they can be deployed quickly and repeatedly; they are less costly and safer than piloted aircraft; they are flexible in terms of flying height and timing of missions; and they can obtain imagery at sub-decimeter resolution. This hyperspatial imagery allows for quantification of plant cover, composition, and structure at multiple spatial scales. Our experiments have shown that this capability, from an off-the-shelf mini-UAV, is directly applicable to operational agency needs for measuring and monitoring. For use by operational agencies to carry out their mandated responsibilities, various requirements must be met: an affordable and reliable platform; a capability for autonomous, low altitude flights; takeoff and landing in small areas surrounded by rugged terrain; and an easily applied data analysis methodology. A number of image processing and orthorectification challenges have been or are currently being addressed, but the potential to depict the land surface commensurate with field data perspectives across broader spatial extents is unrivaled.

© 2009 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers

Citation

Albert Rango ; Andrea Laliberte ; Jeffrey E. Herrick ; Craig Winters ; Kris Havstad, et al.
"Unmanned aerial vehicle-based remote sensing for rangeland assessment, monitoring, and management", J. Appl. Remote Sens. 3(1), 033542 (August 13, 2009). ; http://dx.doi.org/10.1117/1.3216822


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