Review of Effective Vegetation Mapping Using the UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) Method


We tried more precise mapping of vegetation using UAV (unmanned aerial vehicle), as a new method of creating vegetation maps, and we objected to be clearly the efficient mapping of vegetation using the UAV method by comparing vegetation maps created by analysing aerial photographs taken by a UAV and an aircraft (manned flight). The aerial photography using UAV was conducted in the Niida River estuary (the secondary river flowing into Minamisoma City in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan). The photography period was in August 2013. We analysed the aerial photographs using ArcGis 9 (Esri Japan Corporation, Tokyo, Japan). The aerial photographs of the main plant communities (Phragmites australisTypha domingensis, and Miscanthus sacchariflorus) taken by the UAV could clearly discriminate each plant community at the 1/50 scale. Moreover, it could clearly discriminate the shape of a plant at the 1/10 scale. We compared the vegetation maps by analysing the aerial photos taken by a UAV (2013 shooting) and an aircraft (2011 shooting). As a result, the vegetation map created by the UAV method could clearly discriminate community distributions. We conclude that vegetation surveys using UAV are possible and are capable of a highly precise community division in places where field reconnaissance is difficult. The UAV method is effective and will contribute to the improvement of research methods in the future; this method may reduce research costs associated with a reduction in field survey days and man-power.

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Kaneko, K. and Nohara, S. (2014) Review of Effective Vegetation Mapping Using the UAV (Unmanned Aerial Vehicle) Method. Journal of Geographic Information System, 6, 733-742. doi: 10.4236/jgis.2014.66060.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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