and Aerial Digital Photography
Airborne Video and Aerial Digital Photography have been integral to Forest Health Protection (FHP) since 1990. These technologies, originally developed or refined by the Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team (FHTET), have enabled FHP to obtain real-time high resolution imagery in a short timeframe. Video and photography have been useful in ongoing FHP programs (i.e., southern pine beetle), and, have been critical to incident command team missions, such as the Columbia Shuttle Recovery Effort and flood damage evaluation effort in western North Carolina. These technologies are highly effective and cost efficient for small project areas.
The Airborne Video and Aerial Digital Photography program resulted from FHTET's desire to place video acquisition and photography equipment in the field to be used as detection and monitoring tools for FHP's insect and disease problem areas.
R8 field offices first acquired the technology in early 1990 and supported the effort to maintain and enhance the capability of the hardware and software platform.
The initial focus on insect and disease problems has been expanded to include general forestry concerns as well as natural disasters and other applications.
The technology evolved from low resolution analog output to high resolution video and camera systems that can produce geo-referenced imagery with Geographic Information System (GIS) integration capability.
Hardcopy mosaic map posters and geo-referenced digital files are the end product.
Southern Pine Beetle Epidemic in the Southern Appalachians, 2001-2004
- Assisted national forests assessing beetle damage, especially in recreation areas
Partnered with the National Forests in North Carolina, the Cherokee National Forest, and FHTET
NASA Space Shuttle Columbia Recovery Effort, 2003
- Used videography and IKONOS satellite imagery for photo interpretation to perform a comparative assessment to locate shuttle debris.
Partnered with FEMA, NASA, Texas Forest Service, National Forests in Texas, Forest Service Atlanta Regional Office, FHTET, and Remote Sensing Applications Center (RSAC).
Hurricanes Frances and Ivan Recovery Efforts, 2004
- Acquired digital imagery to map timber stand damage on the Ocala National Forest in Florida in September 2004.
Acquired digital imagery of the Peeks Creek landslide for the National Forest in North Carolina in October 2004. Created photo mosaic for media contacts.
Image Acquisition Projects, 2006-2009
Acquired digital images for the Pisgah and Nantahala National Forest in North Carolina and the Cherokee National Forest in Tennessee (2006) to record timber stand changes after the 2000 - 2004 SPB epidemics.
Acquired digital images for the National Park Service in St. Mary’s, GA. (2007) to record red bay mortality on Cumberland Island National Seashore. Final product was geo-referenced images for use in GIS applications.
Acquired digital images for the Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina (2008). The geo-referenced imagery produced was used for the Linville Gorge Complex Burn Assessment Area.
Acquired digital images for the Croatan National Forest in North Carolina (2009) to document the significant pine mortality occurring in some high value stands. The geo-referenced imagery produced was used in GIS applications for further analysis.
- Partnered with the National Forests in Florida, National Forests in North Carolina, Cherokee National Forest, USDI Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service and the R8 Regional Office.
Technology Needs and Specifications
- Camera and image processing technology changes frequently, requiring software and hardware equipment upgrades, and updated skills training.
- FHP should maintain at least the current level of airborne videography and aerial digital photography.
- Systems should be enhanced as technology changes, and individuals should be continuously trained.
- Need for this technology is anticipated to increase (commercial aerial photography and satellite imagery are often too expensive and are not available on an as-needed [often emergency or at least time-sensitive] basis).
Richard A. Spriggs -- Address: USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, 200 W.T. Weaver Blvd., Asheville, NC, 28805; Phone: 828-257-4229; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Updated: February 2010