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Detection of dugongs from unmanned aerial vehicles

Maire, F., Mejias, L., Hodgson, A. and Duclos, G. (2013) Detection of dugongs from unmanned aerial vehicles. In: 26th IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems: New Horizon, IROS 2013, 3 - 8 November, Tokyo; Japan pp. 2750-2756.

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Monitoring and estimation of marine populations is of paramount importance for the conservation and management of sea species. Regular surveys are used to this purpose followed often by a manual counting process. This paper proposes an algorithm for automatic detection of dugongs from imagery taken in aerial surveys. Our algorithm exploits the fact that dugongs are rare in most images, therefore we determine regions of interest partially based on color rarity. This simple observation makes the system robust to changes in illumination. We also show that by applying the extended-maxima transform on red-ratio images, submerged dugongs with very fuzzy edges can be detected. Performance figures obtained here are promising in terms of degree of confidence in the detection of marine species, but more importantly our approach represents a significant step in automating this type of surveys.

Publication Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Life Sciences
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