Aerial Photography

Brief Description

Aerial orthophoto of the Marmion Hillaries case study area.
Habitats that can be mapped with aerial photography include seagrass meadows (patchy or continuous), coral reefs, unconsolidated sediments, shellfish beds (oyster and mussel), hard-bottom areas, soft corals, macro algal beds, and drift algal accumulations. Successful photography requires suitable optical penetration of the water column. Under optimum conditions the images are superior to those provided by acoustic techniques. Aerial photographs can reveal the spatial extent and distribution of a habitat, habitat fragmentation (expressed as a percent bottom-cover value), and, in the case of submerged aquatic vegetation, qualitative measures of biomass.

See NOAA's summary table at summary view of aerial photography technique (196 KB PDF).



"Guidance for Benthic Habitat Mapping: An Aerial Photographic Approach"

U.S. NOAA Coastal Services Center. 2001. by Mark Finkbeiner [and by] Bill Stevenson and Renee Seaman, Technology Planning and Management Corporation, Charleston, SC. (NOAA/CSC/20117-PUB).

The primary audience of this document is the spatial data analyst tasked with developing baseline benthic habitat data. The methods that follow rely strongly on aerial photointerpretation and photogrammetry. Effective implementation of these technologies requires a specialized set of skills and experience. Project analysts ideally should have a background in remote sensing and photogrammetry. A familiarity with the physical and biological components of the study area is also very important and a working knowledge of geographic information system (GIS) technology is essential to producing the digital data and conducting further spatial.

Click here to download report. (10 MB PDF)

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