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Evaluation of Color Imagery and Direct Referencing for Mapping Submersed Aquatic Vegetation in Chesapeake Bay

Published: December 01, 2009

In 2008, the VIMS Annual Submersed Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) Monitoring Program initiated a pilot project in the Bay and its tributaries to study two potential enhancements: color film and direct referencing technology. Simultaneous color and black and white imagery was captured for three regions and GPS / inertial mapping unit (IMU) direct referencing data was acquired for two of these regions. The GPS/IMU data reduced processing time with similar positional accuracy at a higher cost than VIMS' traditional methods, but there was little obvious benefit offsetting the additional cost and processing time associated with color film. We conclude that timing the imagery to minimize the effects of cloud cover, turbidity, sun glint, water depth, and waves during peak SAV abundance remains the single most important factor in accurately monitoring SAV with aerial photography in the different regions of the Bay.

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