Estimation of channel erosion by multi-modal data fusion using unmanned aerial system, sonar and terrestrial LiDAR

Authors: Tarini Shukla*, University of North Carolina - Charlotte, Craig Allan, University of North Carolina - Charlotte, Wenwu Tang, University of North Carolina - Charlotte, Shen-en Chen, University of North Carolina - Charlotte
Topics: Remote Sensing, Hazards, Risks, and Disasters, Drones
Keywords: channel erosion, UAS, LiDAR, sonar, hydraulic geometry
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/9/2021
Start / End Time: 1:30 PM / 2:45 PM
Room: Virtual 34
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Remote sensing technologies like terrestrial laser scanner (TLS), sonar and photogrammetry techniques utilizing small unmanned aerial systems (sUAS) provide a cost effective and reliable technique to monitor and measure channel erosion. We are proposing a proof of concept study that could be used to prioritize streams reaches requiring restoration and/or immediate stabilization following flooding events. This study is planned to use sUAS along with sonar and TLS for the assessment of channel erosion. Real time kinematic global positioning system (RTK GPS) will be used for the georeferencing and validation of the remotely sensed data. Stream hydraulic geometry based on Regional Curve relationships developed by the NC State Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering will be used as a reference for the bankfull cross sectional area and channel dimensions for the study watersheds. We will determine the degree of channel incision based on the comparison analysis. This analysis will help us in prioritizing the stream reaches require immediate attention for restoration. We will use LiDAR point cloud data and sUAS imagery data processed with structure from motion (SfM) photogrammetry and sonar sparse point cloud to estimate ground elevation, channel dimensions, % vegetative coverage and location. The results will be integrated into a watershed level GIS platform which could assist planning authorities in making informed watershed management decisions to better target limited restoration funding dollars and/or provide rapid channel assessment after significant flooding events.

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