Mangrove canopy using photogrammetry

A good paper released in the open access journal Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation today detailed the use of worldview stereo pairs to estimate canopy height within mangroves in Mozambique. One of the factors making this more practical than other forest types is the relative uniformity of the canopy height (“tree height saturates and remains relatively consistent in mature and intact forests”), as well as the fact that they only occur at or around sea level, which allows for confidence to be given in ground control readings as well as the canopy height itself.

The introduction details the use of the NASA Ames stereo pipeline, which has been of some interest to me after coming across a very good description of an implementation of a semi-global matching algorithm written by an engineer who has a colleague working on Ames. SGM is particularly relevant to SfM-MVS photogrammetry (See Hirschmuller’s papers for more detail!), but is also being incorporated into big software packages such as IMAGINE. Zack’s blog is pretty amazing in general and I recommend it be given some attention!

The paper itself lists some pretty great results, and some of the maps generated are beautiful! It serves as a proof of concept for modern photogrammetry, which has come on leaps and bounds, and the potential for back-projecting and reprocessing data in this way is pretty exciting. I’ll be keeping my eye on the journal for future applications to environmental remote sensing!


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