Introducing PebbleCounts

  • Grain-size distributions are a key geomorphic metric of gravel-bed rivers. Traditional measurement methods include manual counting or photo sieving, but these are achievable only at the 1–10 ㎡ scale. With the advent of drones and increasingly high-resolution cameras, we can now generate orthoimagery over hectares at millimeter to centimeter resolution. These scales, along with the complexity of high-mountain rivers, necessitate different approaches for photo sieving. As opposed to other image segmentation methods that use a watershed approach, our open-source algorithm, PebbleCounts, relies on k-means clustering in the spatial and spectral domain and rapid manual selection of well-delineated grains. This improves grain-size estimates for complex riverbed imagery, without post-processing. We also develop a fully automated method, PebbleCountsAuto, that relies on edge detection and filtering suspect grains, without the k-means clustering or manual selection steps. The algorithms are tested in controlled indoor conditions on threeGrain-size distributions are a key geomorphic metric of gravel-bed rivers. Traditional measurement methods include manual counting or photo sieving, but these are achievable only at the 1–10 ㎡ scale. With the advent of drones and increasingly high-resolution cameras, we can now generate orthoimagery over hectares at millimeter to centimeter resolution. These scales, along with the complexity of high-mountain rivers, necessitate different approaches for photo sieving. As opposed to other image segmentation methods that use a watershed approach, our open-source algorithm, PebbleCounts, relies on k-means clustering in the spatial and spectral domain and rapid manual selection of well-delineated grains. This improves grain-size estimates for complex riverbed imagery, without post-processing. We also develop a fully automated method, PebbleCountsAuto, that relies on edge detection and filtering suspect grains, without the k-means clustering or manual selection steps. The algorithms are tested in controlled indoor conditions on three arrays of pebbles and then applied to 12 × 1 ㎡ orthomosaic clips of high-energy mountain rivers collected with a camera-on-mast setup (akin to a low-flying drone). A 20-pixel b-axis length lower truncation is necessary for attaining accurate grain-size distributions. For the k-means PebbleCounts approach, average percentile bias and precision are 0.03 and 0.09 ψ, respectively, for ∼1.16 mm pixel⁻¹ images, and 0.07 and 0.05 ψ for one 0.32 mm pixel⁻¹ image. The automatic approach has higher bias and precision of 0.13 and 0.15 ψ, respectively, for ∼1.16 mm pixel⁻¹ images, but similar values of −0.06 and 0.05 ψ for one 0.32 mm pixel⁻¹ image. For the automatic approach, only at best 70 % of the grains are correct identifications, and typically around 50 %. PebbleCounts operates most effectively at the 1 ㎡ patch scale, where it can be applied in ∼5–10 min on many patches to acquire accurate grain-size data over 10–100 ㎡ areas. These data can be used to validate PebbleCountsAuto, which may be applied at the scale of entire survey sites (102–104 ㎡ ). We synthesize results and recommend best practices for image collection, orthomosaic generation, and grain-size measurement using both algorithms.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Benjamin PurintonORCiDGND, Bodo BookhagenORCiDGND
DOI:https://doi.org/10.5194/esurf-7-859-2019
ISSN:2196-6311
ISSN:2196-632X
Parent Title (English):Earth Surface Dynamics
Subtitle (English):a grain-sizing tool for photo surveys of dynamic gravel-bed rivers
Publisher:Copernicus Publ
Place of publication:Göttingen
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Date of first Publication:2019/09/17
Year of Completion:2019
Release Date:2019/12/02
Volume:2019
Issue:7
Pagenumber:19
First Page:859
Last Page:877
Funder:Universität Potsdam
Grant Number:PA 2019_96
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Erd- und Umweltwissenschaften
Dewey Decimal Classification:5 Naturwissenschaften und Mathematik / 55 Geowissenschaften, Geologie / 550 Geowissenschaften
Peer Review:Referiert
Grantor:Publikationsfonds der Universität Potsdam
Publication Way:Open Access
Licence (German):License LogoCreative Commons - Namensnennung, 4.0 International
Notes extern:Zweitveröffentlichung in der Schriftenreihe Postprints der Universität Potsdam : Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Reihe ; 783