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The ERDC Library supports the mission-related research needs of ERDC scientists and engineers at three physical locations with a centralized library catalog and web site. It also hosts an online digital repository of ERDC-authored reports.

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Tag: Remote Sensing
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  • Data Collection Tools for River Geomorphology Studies: LiDAR and Traditional Methods

    Abstract: The purpose of this review is to highlight LiDAR data usage for geomorphic studies and compare to other remote sensing technologies. This review further identifies survey efficiencies and issues that can be problematic in using LiDAR digital elevation models (DEMs) in completing surveys and geomorphic analysis. US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) geospatial data collection guidance (EM 1110-1-1000) (USACE 2015) aligns with the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing Positional Accuracy Standards for Digital Geospatial Data (ASPRS 2014). Geomorphic assessment technologies are rapidly evolving, and LiDAR data collection methods are at the forefront. The FluvialGeomorph (FG) toolbox, developed to support USACE watershed planning, is a recent example of the use of LiDAR high-resolution terrain data to provide a new, efficient approach for rapid watershed assessments (Haring et al. 2020; Haring and Biedenharn 2021). However, there are advantages and disadvantages in using LiDAR data compared to other remote sensing technologies and traditional topographic field survey methods.
  • Joint Chilean and US Mobility Testing in Extreme Environments

    Abstract: Vehicle mobility in cold and challenging terrains is of interest to both the US and Chilean Armies. Mobility in winter conditions is highly vehicle dependent with autonomous vehicles experiencing additional challenges over manned vehicles. They lack the ability to make informed decisions based on what they are “seeing” and instead need to rely on input from sensors on the vehicle, or from Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) or satellite data collections. This work focuses on onboard vehicle Controller Area Network (CAN) Bus sensors, driver input sensors, and some externally mounted sensors to assist with terrain identification and overall vehicle mobility. Analysis of winter vehicle/sensor data collected in collaboration with the Chilean Army in Lonquimay, Chile during July and August 2019 will be discussed in this report.
  • Evaluating Drone Truthing as an Alternative to Ground Truthing: An Example with Wetland Plant Identification

    Purpose: Satellite remote sensing of wetlands provides many advantages to traditional monitoring and mapping methods. However, remote sensing often remains reliant on labor- and resource- intensive ground truth data for wetland vegetation identification through image classification training and accuracy assessments. Therefore, this study sought to evaluate the use of unmanned aircraft system (UAS) data as an alternative or supplement to traditional ground truthing techniques in support of remote sensing for identifying and mapping wetland vegetation.
  • Characterizing Snow Surface Properties Using Airborne Hyperspectral Imagery for Autonomous Winter Mobility

    Abstract: With changing conditions in northern climates it is crucial for the United States to have assured mobility in these high-latitude regions. Winter terrain conditions adversely affect vehicle mobility and, as such, they must be accurately characterized to ensure mission success. Previous studies have attempted to remotely characterize snow properties using varied sensors. However, these studies have primarily used satellite-based products that provide coarse spatial and temporal resolution, which is unsuitable for autonomous mobility. Our work employs the use of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) mounted hyperspectral camera in tandem with machine learning frameworks to predict snow surface properties at finer scales. Several machine learning models were trained using hyperspectral imagery in tandem with in-situ snow measurements. The results indicate that random forest and k-nearest neighbors models had the lowest Mean Absolute Error for all surface snow properties. A Pearson correlation matrix showed that density, grain size, and moisture content all had a significant positive correlation to one another. Mechanically, density and grain size had a slightly positive correlation to compressive strength, while moisture had a much weaker negative correlation. This work provides preliminary insight into the efficacy of using hyperspectral imagery for characterizing snow properties for autonomous vehicle mobility.
  • Remotely Sensed Habitat Assessment of Bottomland Hardwood and Swamp Habitat: West Shore Lake Pontchartrain Hurricane Storm Damage Risk Reduction System Potential Impact Area

    Purpose: This study used remote sensing techniques to identify and assess the current condition of bottomland hardwood (BLH) and swamp habitats within the West Shore Lake Pontchartrain (WSLP) hurricane storm-damage risk reduction system (HSDRRS) project area. This effort provides baseline knowledge of the location and quality of these habitats prior to the construction of the WSLP HSDRRS project. The resultant products will assist the USACE—New Orleans District (MVN) by informing ecosystem decision-making related to environmental assessments.
  • Methodology for Remote Assessment of Pavement Distresses from Point Cloud Analysis

    Abstract: The ability to remotely assess road and airfield pavement condition is critical to dynamic basing, contingency deployment, convoy entry and sustainment, and post-attack reconnaissance. Current Army processes to evaluate surface condition are time-consuming and require Soldier presence. Recent developments in the area of photogrammetry and light detection and ranging (LiDAR) enable rapid generation of three-dimensional point cloud models of the pavement surface. Point clouds were generated from data collected on a series of asphalt, concrete, and unsurfaced pavements using ground- and aerial-based sensors. ERDC-developed algorithms automatically discretize the pavement surface into cross- and grid-based sections to identify physical surface distresses such as depressions, ruts, and cracks. Depressions can be sized from the point-to-point distances bounding each depression, and surface roughness is determined based on the point heights along a given cross section. Noted distresses are exported to a distress map file containing only the distress points and their locations for later visualization and quality control along with classification and quantification. Further research and automation into point cloud analysis is ongoing with the goal of enabling Soldiers with limited training the capability to rapidly assess pavement surface condition from a remote platform.
  • Channel Assessment Tools for Rapid Watershed Assessment

    Purpose: Existing Delta Headwaters Project (DHP) watershed stabilization studies are focused on restoration and stabilization of degraded stream systems. The original watershed studies formerly under the Demonstration Erosion Control (DEC) Project started in the mid 1980s. The watershed stabilization activities are continuing, and because of the vast number of degraded watersheds and limited amount of yearly funding, there is a need for developing a rapid watershed assessment approach to determine which watersheds to prioritize for further work. The goal of this project is to test the FluvialGeomorph (FG) toolkit to determine if the Rapid Geomorphic Assessment approach can identify channel stability trends in Campbell Creek and its main tributary. The FG toolkit (Haring et al. 2019; Haring et al. 2020) is a new rapid watershed assessment approach using high-resolution terrain data (Light Detection and Ranging [LiDAR]) to support U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) watershed planning. One of the principal goals of the USACE SMART (Specific Measureable Attainable Risk-Informed Timely) Planning is to leverage existing data and resources to complete studies. The FG approach uses existing LiDAR to rapidly assess either reach-specific analysis for smaller more focused studies or larger watersheds or ecosystems. The rapid assessment capability can reduce the time and cost of planning by using existing information to complete a preliminary watershed assessment and provide rapid results regarding where to focus more detailed study efforts.
  • Monitoring Ecological Restoration with Imagery Tools (MERIT): Python-based Decision Support Tools Integrated into ArcGIS for Satellite and UAS Image Processing, Analysis, and Classification

    Abstract: Monitoring the impacts of ecosystem restoration strategies requires both short-term and long-term land surface monitoring. The combined use of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) and satellite imagery enable effective landscape and natural resource management. However, processing, analyzing, and creating derivative imagery products can be time consuming, manually intensive, and cost prohibitive. In order to provide fast, accurate, and standardized UAS and satellite imagery processing, we have developed a suite of easy-to-use tools integrated into the graphical user interface (GUI) of ArcMap and ArcGIS Pro as well as open-source solutions using NodeOpenDroneMap. We built the Monitoring Ecological Restoration with Imagery Tools (MERIT) using Python and leveraging third-party libraries and open-source software capabilities typically unavailable within ArcGIS. MERIT will save US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) districts significant time in data acquisition, processing, and analysis by allowing a user to move from image acquisition and preprocessing to a final output for decision-making with one application. Although we designed MERIT for use in wetlands research, many tools have regional or global relevancy for a variety of environmental monitoring initiatives.
  • Automated Terrain Classification for Vehicle Mobility in Off-Road Conditions

    ABSTRACT:  The U.S. Army is increasingly interested in autonomous vehicle operations, including off-road autonomous ground maneuver. Unlike on-road, off-road terrain can vary drastically, especially with the effects of seasonality. As such, vehicles operating in off-road environments need to be informed about the changing terrain prior to departure or en route for successful maneuver to the mission end point. The purpose of this report is to assess machine learning algorithms used on various remotely sensed datasets to see which combinations are useful for identifying different terrain. The study collected data from several types of winter conditions by using both active and passive, satellite and vehicle-based sensor platforms and both supervised and unsupervised machine learning algorithms. To classify specific terrain types, supervised algorithms must be used in tandem with large training datasets, which are time consuming to create. However, unsupervised segmentation algorithms can be used to help label the training data. More work is required gathering training data to include a wider variety of terrain types. While classification is a good first step, more detailed information about the terrain properties will be needed for off-road autonomy.
  • Utilizing Data from the NOAA National Data Buoy Center

    Purpose: This Coastal and Hydraulics Engineering Technical Note (CHETN) guides users through the quality control (QC) and processing steps that are necessary when using archived U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Data Buoy Center (NDBC) wave and meteorological data. This CHETN summarizes methodologies to geographically clean and QC NDBC measurement data for use by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) user community.