Effectiveness of Aerial Videography to Characterize Lakeshore Condition


Blake Mills, Garry Scrimgeour


The Riparian Habitat Assessment Project (RHAP) developed and tested the ability of low-level videography to describe shoreline conditions in shallow lakes of Alberta, Canada. We compared the spatial resolution and acquisition costs of the video with three other available sources of land cover imagery. To enhance the capacity of the video product we developed a scoresheet for making shoreline health and integrity determinations when the video was viewed by a trained observer. We also compared the video scoresheet assessment criteria with those of three ground based riparian health assessment methods and quantified inter- and intra-observer agreement in shoreline assessments completed using low-level videography. Cost effectiveness of assessments using low-level videography captured from an amphibious trike with that captured from a boat, the ground and a helicopter were also compared. These comparisons showed that low-level videography and the video assessment scoresheet were highly cost effective compared to other modes of assessment. This approach also provided moderately high resolution imagery capable of distinguishing fine to moderate scale changes in shoreline conditions and relatively robust inter- and intra-observer assessment results. Taken together, our data suggest that low-level videography, combined with simple assessment criteria, represents a rapid and cost effective means to assess shoreline conditions.

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