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A Preliminary Assessment of Hyperspectral Remote Sensing Technology for Mapping Submerged Aquatic Vegetation in the Upper Delaware River National Parks (USA)

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Document pages: 23 pages

Abstract: Hyperspectral remote sensing of submerged aquatic vegetationis a complex and difficult process that is affected by unique constraints onthe energy flow profile near and below the water surface. In addition, shallow,winding, lotic systems, such as the Upper Delaware River, present additionalremote sensing problems in the form of specular reflectance, variable depth andconstituents in the water column and sometimes extremely weak signal strengthdue to absorption and scattering in the water column that can be statisticallyoverwhelmed by the reflectance from upland vegetation in any individual imagescene. Here we test hyperspectral imagery from the Civil Air Patrol’s (CAP),Airborne Real-time Cueing Hyperspectral Enhanced Recon (ARCHER) system in thescenic waters of two National Parks on the Upper Delaware River. A number ofunique image processing problems were encountered, including specularreflectance from winding lotic systems, variable depth and flow dynamics of theriverine environment, and disproportionate signal strength from surfacereflectance in this riverine environment. These problems were solved byapplying a specular reflectance removal algorithm, applying field datacollections to classification results and masking upland vegetation so as tonot statistically overwhelm the weak reflectance signal from surface andnear-surface water. Much was learned about conducting imaging spectroscopy insuch difficult conditions. Important results include successful mapping ofSubmerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) presence absence, advantages of upland maskingof the reflectance signal, and a number of processing approaches that areunique to this environment. In this paper we summarize our results and identifyunique issues that must be addressed in this environment.

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