Mapping and Analysis of Coral Reef Damage Related to Boating in Kāneʻohe Bay with Unmanned Aerial Systems

O'Conner, Robert C.
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[Honolulu] : [University of Hawaii at Manoa], [December 2016]
Low-cost unmanned aerial systems have been underutilized in mapping damage to coral reefs due to recreational boating activities. The need for fast and accurate mapping is important when making sense of situations where coral reefs require emergency restoration and damage assessments. With coral reefs under increasing stress from global climate change and other anthropogenic factors, the need to protect them is more important than ever. There are inherent challenges in mapping benthic habitats with typical methods such as scuba surveys and satellite photo interpretation. This study aims to use unmanned aerial vehicles to map damage to coral reefs related to boating in Kāneʻohe Bay. Images were taken at relatively low altitudes from an unmanned aerial vehicle and then mosaicked together using commercially available software. The image orthomosaics were georeferenced and digitized into vector files for further analysis. The vector files can reveal patterns and concentrations of vessel related damage to coral reefs in the bay. Continued data collection can serve to monitor damage and predict future locations of boat interactions with these important marine resources.
MA University of Hawaii at Manoa 2016
Includes bibliographical references (leaves 63–71).
coral reefs, Kaneohe Bay, Hawaii, climate change, natural resource conservation, marine resource conservation, mapping
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