Environmental Monitoring and Assessment

, Volume 81, Issue 1, pp 383-392

First online:

Preliminary Investigation of Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Mapping using Hyperspectral Remote Sensing

  • David J. WilliamsAffiliated withLandscape Ecology Branch, Environmental Sciences Division, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
  • , Nancy B. RybickiAffiliated withNational Research Program, Water Resources Division, U.S. Geological Survey
  • , Alfonso V. LombanaAffiliated withNational Research Program, Water Resources Division, U.S. Geological Survey
  • , Tim M. O'BrienAffiliated withEnvironmental Concern Inc.
  • , Richard B. GomezAffiliated withCenter for Earth Observing and Space Research, School of Computational Sciences, George Mason University

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The use of airborne hyperspectral remote sensing imagery for automated mapping of submerged aquatic vegetation (SAV) in the tidal Potomac River was investigated for near to real-time resource assessment and monitoring. Airborne hyperspectral imagery and field spectrometer measurements were obtained in October of 2000. A spectral library database containing selected ground-based and airborne sensor spectra was developed for use in image processing. The spectral library is used to automate the processing of hyperspectral imagery for potential real-time material identification and mapping. Field based spectra were compared to the airborne imagery using the database to identify and map two species of SAV (Myriophyllum spicatum and Vallisneria americana). Overall accuracy of the vegetation maps derived from hyperspectral imagery was determined by comparison to a product that combined aerial photography and field based sampling at the end of the SAV growing season. The algorithms and databases developed in this study will be useful with the current and forthcoming space-based hyperspectral remote sensing systems.

submerged aquatic vegetation remote sensing hyperspectral species mapping estuarine ecosystems epiphyte reflectance spectroscopy computational techniques