Remote sensing has been around for hundreds of years, however, remote sensing over the water poses unique challenges. Some of those challenges include a lack of information, distortion from water, and connectivity within a 3D space. Drones provide an exciting new frontier for imagery for many remote sensing areas, especially for water. Drones can drastically cut down on the amount of time and people needed to survey an area. However, imagery over water has distortions that make it difficult to map and classify images clearly. A new technique called fluid lensing allows for the distortion to be minimized and 3D images to be mapped at fine spatial resolution. This improvement in imagery collection and processing allows for the creation of highly detailed habitat descriptions. These descriptions, coupled with other environmental parameters, allow for increasingly precise models for the habitats of key species. Aquatic systems further complicate the issue due to the combined static nature of the benthos and the dynamic nature of the water column over the benthos. This poses challenges of determining how individual geographic locations are connected as a part of a networked whole.
Colleen Campbell is a PhD student in the Red Sea Research Center. She received her MS in GIST from the University of Southern California and her BS from St. Cloud State University in Geography with minors in GIS and Anthropology. Her research focuses on mapping coral reefs using drones, GIS, and fluid lensing techniques. She is also interested in network analysis and machine learning.