Detection of alligator weed using an unmanned aerial vehicle

Plant Protection Quarterly
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Plant Protection Quarterly, 2014, 29 (3), pp. 84 - 89
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A key impediment to the successful eradication of high priority aquatic weeds (State Prohibited Weeds in Victoria, Australia) is the ability to detect infestations so that control programs can be enacted. Currently, the sole method used to detect State Prohibited Weeds (SPWs) is on-ground human surveillance. Advances in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology offer an opportunity to detect SPWs using high resolution aerial images of areas known, or suspected, to contain SPWs. This proof of concept field trial used a UAV coupled with a camera to gain aerial imagery of an urban creek and wetlands to detect alligator weed (Alternanthera philoxeroides (Mart.) Griseb.), a SPW that is currently being targeted for eradication from Victoria. The ability of three methods to detect patches of alligator weed was compared: intensive on-ground surveys; visual assessment of images collected by the UAV; and an automated algorithm to scan images for the spectral signature of alligator weed
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