Poster Session 2, Tuesday,  October  4, 10:40–12:40

Poster 22

Airborne Drones In Support Of Earth Observation Validation

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles, (UAVs), or drones, with optical sensors are embedded in various land mapping and monitoring surveys. Drone are easy-to-use, cheap compared to satellite data or in-situ sampling, flexible in deployment, can be flown at low altitudes even in presence of clouds. They have the advantage of providing near-real time information at a very high spatial resolution. In combination with in-situ sampling, drones provide the broader spatial context and can collected information in hard-to-reach areas. Although drones and lightweight cameras are readily available, deriving water quality parameters is not straightforward. It requires knowledge of water optical properties, atmospheric contribution and special approaches for georeferencing of the drone images. We present a cloud-based environment, MAPEO-water, to deal with the complexity of water surfaces and retrieve quantitative information on the water turbidity, the chlorophyll content and the presence of marine litter/marine plastics. MAPEO-water supports a number of camera types (incl MicaSense Dual camera) and allows the drone operator to upload the images in the cloud. Protocols are available, which explain the optimal drone flight planning and allow efficient processing of images from raw digital numbers into physically meaningful values. Processing includes direct georeferencing, radiometric calibration and removal of the atmospheric contribution using an adopted version of iCOR. Water turbidity and chlorophyll retrieval are based on spectral approaches utilizing information in the visible and Near Infrared wavelength ranges. Marine litter detection combines spectral approaches and Artificial Intelligence. Showcases including satellite, drone and in-situ observations will demonstrate the added value of each technique.

Liesbeth De Keukelaere, VITO, [email protected], 0000-0001-6400-595X 

Robrecht Moelans, VITO, [email protected], 0000-0001-9119-0206

Els Knaeps, VITO, [email protected], 0000-0002-0557-6151

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