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The Cryosphere An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-93
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-93
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

  28 Apr 2020

28 Apr 2020

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A revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal TC.

Intercomparison of photogrammetric platforms for spatially continuous snow depth mapping

Lucie Anne Eberhard1,2, Pascal Sirguey3, Aubrey Miller3, Mauro Marty4, Konrad Schindler5, Andreas Stoffel1, and Yves Bühler1 Lucie Anne Eberhard et al.
  • 1WSL Institute for Snow and Avalanche Research SLF, Davos Dorf, 7260, Switzerland
  • 2D-Baug, ETH Zürich, Zürich, 8093, Switzerland
  • 3National School of Surveying, University of Otago, P.O. Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand
  • 4Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL, Birmensdorf, 8903, Switzerland
  • 5Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing Group, ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Abstract. Snow depth has traditionally been estimated based on point measurements collected either manually or at automated weather stations. Point measurements, though, do not represent the high spatial variability of snow depths present in alpine terrain. Photogrammetric mapping techniques have made significant progress in recent years and are suitable to accurately map snow depth in a spatially continuous manner, over larger areas, and at various spatial resolutions. However, the strengths and weaknesses associated with specific platforms and photogrammetric techniques, as well as the accuracy of the photogrammetric performance on snow surfaces have not yet been sufficiently investigated. Therefore, industry-standard photogrammetric platforms, including high-resolution satellites (Pléiades), airplanes (Ultracam), Unmanned Aerial Systems UAS (eBee+) and ground-based (single lens reflex camera), were tested in a timely manner for snow depth mapping in the alpine Dischma valley (Switzerland) in spring 2018. Imagery was acquired with airborne and space-borne platforms over the entire valley, while UAS and ground-based photogrammetric imagery were acquired over a subset of the valley. For independent validation of the photogrammetric products, snow depth was measured by probing, as well as using remote observations of fixed snow poles. When comparing snow depth maps with manual and snow pole measurements the root mean square errors (RMSEs) and the normalized median deviations (NMADs) are 0.52 m and 0.47 m for the Pléiades snow depth map, 0.17 m and 0.17 m for the Ultracam snow depth map, 0.16 m and 0.11 m for the UAS snow depth map. Ground-based had to few measurements to be statistically relevant. When using the eBee+ snow depth map as ground truth, the RMSEs and NMADs are 0.44 m and 0.38 m for the Pléiades snow depth map, 0.12 m and 0.11 m for the Ultracam snow depth map, 0.21 and 0.19 m for the ground-based snow depth map. Because of the accuracy and precision of the Ultracam dataset we finally compared the Ultracam snow depth map to the Pléiades snow depth map over a large part of the Dischma valley and calculated a RMSE of 0.92 m and a NMAD of 0.65 m. By comparing for the first time more than two platforms, this study provides comparative measurements between platforms to evaluate the specific advantages and disadvantages of them for operational, spatially continuous snow depth mapping in alpine terrain over small and large areas.

Lucie Anne Eberhard et al.

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Lucie Anne Eberhard et al.

Lucie Anne Eberhard et al.

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Latest update: 29 Sep 2020
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Short summary
In spring 2018 in the alpine Dischma Valley (Switzerland), we tested different industrial photogrammetric platforms for snow depth mapping in a timely manner. These platforms were high-resolution satellites, aircraft, unmanned aerial systems and ground-based. Therefore, this study gives a general overview over accuracy and precision of the different photogrammetric platforms available in space and on earth and their use for snow depth mapping.
In spring 2018 in the alpine Dischma Valley (Switzerland), we tested different industrial...
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