Mestre-Runge, C., Ludwig, M., Sebastià, M. T., Plaixats, J., & Lobo, A. (2023). Optimizing Drone-Based Surface Models for Prescribed Fire Monitoring. In Fire (Vol. 6, Issue 11).


Prescribed burning and pyric herbivory play pivotal roles in mitigating wildfire risks, underscoring the imperative of consistent biomass monitoring for assessing fuel load reductions. Drone-derived surface models promise uninterrupted biomass surveillance but require complex photogrammetric processing. In a Mediterranean mountain shrubland burning experiment, we refined a Structure from Motion (SfM) and Multi-View Stereopsis (MVS) workflow to diminish biases in 3D modeling and RGB drone imagery-based surface reconstructions. Given the multitude of SfM-MVS processing alternatives, stringent quality oversight becomes paramount. We executed the following steps: (i) calculated Root Mean Square Error (RMSE) between Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) checkpoints to assess SfM sparse cloud optimization during georeferencing; (ii) evaluated elevation accuracy by comparing the Mean Absolute Error (MAE) of six surface and thirty terrain clouds against GNSS readings and known box dimensions; and (iii) complemented a dense cloud quality assessment with density metrics. Balancing overall accuracy and density, we selected surface and terrain cloud versions for high-resolution (2 cm pixel size) and accurate (DSM, MAE = 57 mm; DTM, MAE = 48 mm) Digital Elevation Model (DEM) generation. These DEMs, along with exceptional height and volume models (height, MAE = 12 mm; volume, MAE = 909.20 cm3) segmented by reference box true surface area, substantially contribute to burn impact assessment and vegetation monitoring in fire management systems.

Original article

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