Aerial mapping and classification of Squamish estuary

Over the years the Skwelwil'em Squamish Estuary has been subject to much change. Most recently, the interior flow of water will be reconnected with the Squamish river through a series of culverts along the Squamish spit. In 2018, in collaboration with Quest University and the District of Squamish, we working to map 585 hectares of the Squamish estuary using multi-rotor RPASs. With three pilots and a group of volunteer visual observers we obtained images at low tide under relatively constant light conditions. At a resolution of 2.2 cm/pixel, this project represents the first high-resolution major baseline data set of the area. We developed a Random Forest model to classify the RGB orthophoto into useful land classes (water, mud, grass, shrub, road). The data and maps are available upon request.

Moving forward we are looking at the use of VTOL RPAS and multi-spectral camera to re-conduct this study, looking for indicators in other bands to assess ecosystem heath and provide further insight to users of the area.

A section of the RGB orthophoto  of Squamish Estuary
A section of the classified map of Squamish Estuary.