Submitted to: Rangeland Ecology and Management
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/23/2009
Publication Date: 11/12/2009
Citation: Nichols, M.H., Ruyle, G.B., Nourbakhsh, I.R. 2009. Very High Resolution Panoramic Photography to Improve Conventional Rangeland Monitoring. 62:579–582.
Interpretive Summary: A robotic camera system is being tested for collecting information on rangelands in the southwestern US. The robotic mount allows a conventional digital camera to be used to collect hundreds of high resolution photographs which can be stitched together to create a very high resolution panoramic image. Three rangeland resources were chosen as examples to demonstrate the use of the system. Very high resolution panoramas showing riparian areas, wildlife, and invasive species were created and can be viewed on the Internet at http://gigapan.org by searching for “rangelands”. Research is ongoing to link this technology with conventional rangeland monitoring methods to improve data collection and interpretation.
Technical Abstract: Rangeland monitoring often includes repeat photographs as a basis for documentation and although photographic equipment and electronics have been evolving rapidly, basic rangeland photo monitoring methods have changed little over time. Ground based digital photography is underutilized, especially since advances in image sensors, lenses, file format standards, storage media, and image processing software have evolved such that enormous amounts of information can be collected efficiently and inexpensively. This project was initiated to integrate very high resolution panoramic images with conventional rangeland monitoring methods addressing three resource management categories: riparian areas, wildlife, and invasive species. Linked to quadrat and transect based monitoring methods, rapidly obtained, high resolution panoramic images may improve scaling and other data gathering and interpretation limitations common with conventional rangeland monitoring.