HIGH RESOLUTION AIRBORNE SHALLOW WATER MAPPING
In order to meet the requirements of the European Water Framework Directive (EU-WFD), authorities face the problem of repeatedly performing area-wide surveying of all kinds of inland waters. Especially for mid-sized or small rivers this is a considerable challenge imposing insurmountable logistical efforts and costs. It is therefore investigated if large-scale surveying of a river system on an operational basis is feasible by employing airborne hydrographic laser scanning.
In cooperation with the Bavarian Water Authority (WWA Weilheim) a pilot project was initiated by the Unit of Hydraulic Engineering at the University of Innsbruck and RIEGL Laser Measurement Systems exploiting the possibilities of a new LIDAR measurement system with high spatial resolution and high measurement rate to capture about 70 km of riverbed and foreland for the river Loisach in Bavaria/Germany and the estuary and parts of the shoreline (about 40km in length) of lake Ammersee. The entire area surveyed was referenced to classic terrestrial cross-section surveys with the aim to derive products for the monitoring and managing needs of the inland water bodies forced by the EU-WFD.
The survey was performed in July 2011 by helicopter and airplane and took 3 days in total. In addition, high resolution areal images were taken to provide an optical reference, offering a wide range of possibilities on further research, monitoring, and managing responsibilities. The operating altitude was about 500 m to maintain eye-safety, even for the aided eye, the airspeed was about 55 kts for the helicopter and 75 kts for the aircraft. The helicopter was used in the alpine regions while the fixed wing aircraft was used in the plains and the urban area, using appropriate scan rates to receive evenly distributed point clouds. The resulting point density ranged from 10 to 25 points per square meter. By carefully selecting days with optimum water quality, satisfactory penetration down to the river bed was achieved throughout the project.
During the data processing meshes for multiple purposes like monitoring sediment transport or accumulation and hydro-dynamic numeric modeling were generated. The meshes were professionally conditioned considering the adherence of, both, geometric and physical mesh quality criterions. Whereas the research is focused on the design and implementation of monitoring database structures, the airborne hydrographic data are also made available for classical processing means (cross sections, longitudinal section).