Short Communication: A simple workflow for robust low-cost UAV-derived change detection without ground control points

Cook, Kristen L.; Dietze, Michael

High-quality 3-D point clouds generated from repeat camera-equipped unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) surveys are increasingly being used to investigate landscape changes and geomorphic processes. Point cloud quality can be expressed as accuracy in a comparative (i.e., from survey to survey) and absolute (between survey and an external reference system) sense. Here we present a simple workflow for calculating pairs or sets of point clouds with a high comparative accuracy, without the need for ground control points or a differential GNSS (dGNSS)-equipped UAV. The method is based on the automated detection of common tie points in stable portions of the survey area. We demonstrate the efficacy of the new approach using a consumer-grade UAV in two contrasting landscapes: the coastal cliffs on the island of Rügen, Germany, and the tectonically active Daan River gorge in Taiwan. Compared to a standard approach using ground control points, our workflow results in a nearly identical distribution of measured changes. Compared to a standard approach without ground control, our workflow reduces the level of change detection from several meters to 10–15 cm. This approach enables robust change detection using UAVs in settings where ground control is not feasible.

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Zitierform:

Cook, Kristen L. / Dietze, Michael: Short Communication: A simple workflow for robust low-cost UAV-derived change detection without ground control points. 2019. Copernicus Publications.

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Rechteinhaber: Kristen L. Cook

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