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  1. Flooding is one of the leading threats of natural disasters to human life and property, especially in densely populated urban areas. Rapid and precise extraction of the flooded areas is key to supporting emergency-response planning and providing damage assessment in both spatial and temporal measurements. Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV) technology has recently been recognized as an efficient photogrammetry data acquisition platform to quickly deliver high-resolution imagery because of its cost-effectiveness, ability to fly at lower altitudes, and ability to enter a hazardous area. Different image classification methods including SVM (Support Vector Machine) have been used for flood extent mapping. In recent years, there has been a significant improvement in remote sensing image classification using Convolutional Neural Networks (CNNs). CNNs have demonstrated excellent performance on various tasks including image classification, feature extraction, and segmentation. CNNs can learn features automatically from large datasets through the organization of multi-layers of neurons and have the ability to implement nonlinear decision functions. This study investigates the potential of CNN approaches to extract flooded areas from UAV imagery. A VGG-based fully convolutional network (FCN-16s) was used in this research. The model was fine-tuned and a k-fold cross-validation was applied to estimate the performance of the modelmore »on the new UAV imagery dataset. This approach allowed FCN-16s to be trained on the datasets that contained only one hundred training samples, and resulted in a highly accurate classification. Confusion matrix was calculated to estimate the accuracy of the proposed method. The image segmentation results obtained from FCN-16s were compared from the results obtained from FCN-8s, FCN-32s and SVMs. Experimental results showed that the FCNs could extract flooded areas precisely from UAV images compared to the traditional classifiers such as SVMs. The classification accuracy achieved by FCN-16s, FCN-8s, FCN-32s, and SVM for the water class was 97.52%, 97.8%, 94.20% and 89%, respectively.« less
  2. Among the different types of natural disasters, floods are the most devastating, widespread, and frequent. Floods account for approximately 30% of the total loss caused by natural disasters. Accurate flood-risk mapping is critical in reducing such damages by correctly predicting the extent of a flood when coupled with rain and stage gage data, supporting emergency-response planning, developing land use plans and regulations with regard to the construction of structures and infrastructures, and providing damage assessment in both spatial and temporal measurements. The reliability and accuracy of such flood assessment maps is dependent on the quality of the digital elevation model (DEM) in flood conditions. This study investigates the quality of an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV)-based DEM for spatial flood assessment mapping and evaluating the extent of a flood event in Princeville, North Carolina during Hurricane Matthew. The challenges and problems of on-demand DEM production during a flooding event were discussed. An accuracy analysis was performed by comparing the water surface extracted from the UAV-derived DEM with the water surface/stage obtained using the nearby US Geologic Survey (USGS) stream gauge station and LiDAR data.