29 October 2007 Using high resolution multispectral imaging to map Pacific coral reefs in support of UNESCO's World Heritage Central Pacific project
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Abstract
Concerns over worldwide declines in marine resources have prompted the search for innovative solutions for their conservation and management, particularly for coral reef ecosystems. Rapid advances in sensor resolution, coupled with image analysis techniques tailored to the unique optical problems of marine environments have enabled the derivation of detailed benthic habitat maps of coral reef habitats from multispectral satellite imagery. Such maps delineate coral reefs' main ecological communities, and are essential for management of these resources as baseline assessments. UNESCO's World Heritage Central Pacific Project plans to afford protection through World Heritage recognition to a number of islands and atolls in the central Pacific Ocean, including the Phoenix Archipelago in the Republic of Kiribati. Most of these islands however lack natural resource maps needed for the identification of priority areas for inclusion in a marine reserve system. Our project provides assistance to UNESCO's World Heritage Centre and the Kiribati Government by developing benthic and terrestrial habitat maps of the Phoenix Islands from high-resolution multispectral imagery. The approach involves: (i) the analysis of new Quickbird multispectral imagery; and (ii) the use of MARXAN, a simulated annealing algorithm that uses a GIS interface. Analysis of satellite imagery was performed with ENVI®, and includes removal of atmospheric effects using ATCOR (a MODTRAN4 radiative transfer model); de-glinting and water column correction algorithms; and a number of unsupervised and supervised classifiers. Previously collected ground-truth data was used to train classifications. The resulting habitat maps are then used as input to MARXAN. This algorithm ultimately identifies a proportion of each habitat to be set aside for protection, and prioritizes conservation areas. The outputs of this research are being delivered to the UNESCO World Heritage Centre office and the Kiribati Government as baseline assessments of these resources and to assist in marine reserve planning.
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Daria Siciliano, Daria Siciliano, Richard C. Olsen, Richard C. Olsen, "Using high resolution multispectral imaging to map Pacific coral reefs in support of UNESCO's World Heritage Central Pacific project", Proc. SPIE 6749, Remote Sensing for Environmental Monitoring, GIS Applications, and Geology VII, 67490B (29 October 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.736259; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.736259
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