Effectiveness of Sentinel-2 in Multi-Temporal Post-Fire Monitoring When Compared with UAV Imagery

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Luís Filipe Pádua
Joaquim João Sousa
Emanuel Peres Correia
António Ribeiro Sousa
Telmo Oliveira Adão
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<jats:p>Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) have become popular in recent years and are now used in a wide variety of applications. This is the logical result of certain technological developments that occurred over the last two decades, allowing UAVs to be equipped with different types of sensors that can provide high-resolution data at relatively low prices. However, despite the success and extraordinary results achieved by the use of UAVs, traditional remote sensing platforms such as satellites continue to develop as well. Nowadays, satellites use sophisticated sensors providing data with increasingly improving spatial, temporal and radiometric resolutions. This is the case for the Sentinel-2 observation mission from the Copernicus Programme, which systematically acquires optical imagery at high spatial resolutions, with a revisiting period of five days. It therefore makes sense to think that, in some applications, satellite data may be used instead of UAV data, with all the associated benefits (extended coverage without the need to visit the area). In this study, Sentinel-2 time series data performances were evaluated in comparison with high-resolution UAV-based data, in an area affected by a fire, in 2017. Given the 10-m resolution of Sentinel-2 images, different spatial resolutions of the UAV-based data (0.25, 5 and 10 m) were used and compared to determine their similarities. The achieved results demonstrate the effectiveness of satellite data for post-fire monitoring, even at a local scale, as more cost-effective than UAV data. The Sentinel-2 results present a similar behavior to the UAV-based data for assessing burned areas.</jats:p>