Using Remote Sensing Technology to Facilitate Detection of River System Changes

Project ID: 1296
Principal Investigator: Ronald Miller
Research Topic: Sediment Management and River Restoration
Funded Fiscal Years: 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 and 2008
Keywords: None

Research Question

8 Can remote sensing and related technologies (e.g., photogrammetry, geographic information systems [GIS], global positioning systems [GPS], GIS expert systems) aid in detection of geomorphic, vegetation and biological changes in river systems?

Need and Benefit

Sedimentation monitoring and management is a key component to water quality assurance. It is a difficult task and one that could benefit from several remote sensing technologies described in this proposal.

This Science and Technology (S&T) Program will continue to support the Rapid Investigation of Stream Conditions and Stability (RISCS) effort. The output products will help evaluate water quality by aiding in sedimentation monitoring.

The resulting GIS database and output products can greatly aid in water management, decisionmaking and a river channel geomorphic prediction tool. The research will involve utilizing Remote Sensing, Photogrammetric Engineering, GIS, GPS, and expert systems technology to identify and measure volumetric, spatial, and temporal changes in river systems. Remote Sensing and Geographic Information Group; D-8260 will work with D-8530 and D-8540 to develop methods of documenting historical conditions and identifying geomorphic and sediment transport over time. This will allow engineers and scientists to better predict and manage river system changes to provide optimum water quality and delivery.

The work will include defining minimum ground control and correlating control requirements based on historical holdings by site, develop multi-temporal terrain surfaces for analysis of volumetric and channel geomorphology using automated softcopy photogrammetric processing and automated feature extraction. In addition, the Sandia Labs Multispectral Thermal (MTI) satellite sensor will be evaluated for effectiveness in sedimentation identification. A secondary function could include automated mapping of riparian vegetation using the same automated feature extraction and MTI image source. The sensor was developed by the government for water quality evaluation as one of several main functions. The research will be geared toward automation to allow the technologies and methods to be applied more cost effectively at an operational level. Much of the work will be performed digitally in the computer. In addition to the three- dimensional (3D) channel development, plannimentric (two dimensional [2D]) automated research techniques will be evaluated. D-8260 has acquired an expert system module developed from military technologies which will be evaluated as an automated geomorphic feature extraction tool. The system includes a learning agent that is trained as to what decision parameters to use for extraction from remotely sensed data. Results are evaluated for effectiveness and the learner agent modified if necessary. If successful, this tool could save time over manual feature delineation.

The work consists of continued development of baseline historial conditions and geomorphic change at priority sites using softcopy photogrammetry. The 2D GIS expert system will be evaluated by selecting site imagery to train, extract, and evaluate geomorphic (and possibly riparian vegetation) features. In addition, the Sandia Labs MTI thermal bands will be evaluated for identification of sediment load at a selected site. D-8260 will also provide a stereo editing system for D-8500 team members to access as required for post process analysis and mensuration.

Contributing Partners


Research Products

Contact the Principal Investigator for information about these documents.

Last Updated: June 29, 2015