Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2021VT001G

Multi-modal UAS Sensor System for Harmful Algal Bloom Mapping and Monitoring

Institute: Vermont
USGS Grant Number:
Year Established: 2021 Start Date: 2021-09-01 End Date: 2023-08-31
Total Federal Funds: $106,545 Total Non-Federal Funds: $126,000

Principal Investigators: Tian Xia

Abstract: This project will develop, design, and deploy a UAS-based system for HAB water sampling and mapping to advance the state-of-the-art in sensing the location and characteristics of HABs. The focus will be on targeting areas on Lake Champlain with known HABs where information is currently lacking with respect to the spatial extent, temporal patterns, toxicity, and species of the HABs. The overall workflow, depicted in, will incorporate two novel approaches of UAS for HAB mapping and monitoring. The first, image collection and analysis, will center on deploying UAS platforms capable of rapidly mapping relatively large areas (several hundred hectares) and developing automated feature extraction algorithms to map the extent of the HABs. The second will focus on designing and deploying a UAS that can retrieve water samples at dozens of locations for an area of concern and then analyzing these samples to determine cyanobacteria species and toxicity. Geospatial analytical techniques that incorporate the extent determined from the imagery, the spectral properties of the imagery, and the HAB characteristics (concentration, species, and toxicity) from the sampled data will then be used to develop a series of maps that will be integrated into an online decision-support system (DSS). The DSS web ap will display the imagery, extent, and layers derived from the geospatial analysis such as interpolated concentration, species, and toxicity.