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The study investigates the efficacy of utilizing Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) multispectral mapping techniques in coastal management compared to conventional remote sensing methods like satellite imagery. Conducted in the Indian River Lagoon along Florida’s central Atlantic coast, the research aims to quantitatively illustrate the advancements and benefits of high-resolution UAV imaging for precise coastal land cover assessment.

To accomplish this, the researchers conducted fieldwork trials employing UAV equipped with a multispectral sensor. They collected Ground Control Points (GCPs) to create a georeferenced dataset, allowing for rigorous comparisons with geo-referenced satellite and aerial imagery. The study specifically compared the capabilities of UAV and satellite (Sentinel-2) imagery using NDVI (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index) and object-oriented classification methods.

Findings revealed that the UAV multispectral mapping technique significantly outperformed satellite imagery with its finer resolution, providing enhanced details of the study area’s physical conditions and superior land feature delineation. Additionally, the UAV-based method demonstrated improved mapping accuracy compared to aerial images acquired from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection.

The research showcases the potential of UAV-based multispectral mapping as a replicable and valuable approach, particularly for areas lacking high-quality data. Its ability to offer finer resolution, enhanced spatial details, and improved mapping products compared to satellite imagery signifies its significance in coastal management applications. The study underscores the importance of UAV technology in providing high-resolution, real-time observations for resource inventory, change detection, and aquaculture assessments in coastal areas, especially those challenging to access.

Overall, the research highlights the utility of UAV multispectral mapping as an advanced and effective tool for coastal management, indicating its potential for widespread application in similar coastal environments globally.

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