Journal cover Journal topic
Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
doi:10.5194/nhess-2017-60
© Author(s) 2017. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Research article
08 Feb 2017
Review status
This discussion paper is under review for the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences (NHESS).
Potential of kite-borne photogrammetry for decimetric and kilometre square 3D mapping: an application for automatic gully detection
Denis Feurer1, Olivier Planchon1, Mohamed Amine El Maaoui2, Mohamed Rached Boussema2, and Marc Pierrot-Deseilligny3 1IRD, UMR LISAH (INRA-IRD-SupAgro), F-34060 Montpellier
2El Manar University, National Engineering School of Tunis, LTSIRS, B.P 37, 1002 Tunis-Belvédère Tunis, Tunisia
3Université Paris-Est, IGN/SR, LOEMI, 73 avenue de Paris, 94165 Saint-Mandé, France
Abstract. This work proposes an alternative method to answer the issue of quasi-exhaustive mapping of erosion features on kilometre square areas by remote sensing. This study presents a method to produce decimetric Digital Elevation Models (DEMs) with kite aerial photography and an algorithm to map gully erosion from these DEMs.

Kite aerial photography is robust and cheap in comparison to Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs). The use of such a simple apparatus is made possible if the flight angle of the kite is steady. Experimentation and modelling show that this goal can be reached with these two predetermined conditions: the right kite must be used in the right wind and the line must be light and thin. In our study, we used a 10 m2 framed delta kite in 4–5 Beaufort winds using a Dyneema® line of 1 mm in diameter and 0.5 g/m in weigth for image acquisition on the day of experiment.

Within two successive flights, 752 images were acquired. The photogrammetric software used was Micmac, an open-source software written and maintained by the French national institute of geographic and forest information (IGN). It allowed to obtain DEM covering 3.18 km2. Geographical reference was given by 8 ground points and 469 independent points were surveyed for validation. Estimated mean error on altitudes was 0.07 m and standard deviation of this error 0.22 m, for a 0.11 m ground sampling distance.

In order to illustrate the potential of such detailed DEMs at the watershed scale, a simple gully detection algorithm was briefly described and implemented. As with several others, the method does not refer to the relationship between slope and drainage area but uses local convolution of the DEM. Considering a smoothed DEM as a proxy of the geomorphological process of gullies healing, proposed gully detection algorithm relies on substracting smoothed DEM from the original DEM. The depth of each feature is then estimated and only the bulkier elements are kept as potential gullies. Despite our algorithm detecting undesired artefacts – most of them being man-made structures such as houses and roads – all gully heads and all channels are detected. Therefore results show the benefits of the production and use of decimetric DEMs on an entire kilometre square watershed with kite-borne imagery.


Citation: Feurer, D., Planchon, O., El Maaoui, M. A., Boussema, M. R., and Pierrot-Deseilligny, M.: Potential of kite-borne photogrammetry for decimetric and kilometre square 3D mapping: an application for automatic gully detection, Nat. Hazards Earth Syst. Sci. Discuss., doi:10.5194/nhess-2017-60, in review, 2017.
Denis Feurer et al.
Denis Feurer et al.
Denis Feurer et al.

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Short summary
We present a method for acquiring very high resolution images for 3D mapping over kilometre square areas using kites. Kites, used in appropriate conditions, can be an advantageous alternative to light unmanned aircrafts when local regulations or weather conditions hamper their use. We prove that kites can acquire images allowing for high quality 3D coverage of wide areas. This allowed us to automatically detect all gullies. The resulting map demonstrates the potential of the proposed method.
We present a method for acquiring very high resolution images for 3D mapping over kilometre...
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