A machine learning approach for estimation of shallow water depths from optical satellite images and sonar measurements

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There has been a rapid growth in the field of remote sensing and its various applications in the area of water management. Nowadays, there are several remote sensing techniques that can be used as a source to derive bathymetry data along coastal areas. The key techniques are: sonar (sound navigating and ranging), LiDAR (light detection and ranging) and high-resolution satellite images. The present paper describes a method which was developed and used to create a shallow water bathymetry data along the Dutch side of Sint Maarten Island by combining sonar measurements and satellite images in a nonlinear machine learning technique. The purpose of this work is to develop a bathymetry dataset that can be used to set up physically-based models for coastal flood modelling work. The nonlinear machine learning technique used in the work is a support vector machine (SVM) model. The sonar data were used as an output whereas image data were used as an input into the SVM model. The results were analysed for three depth ranges and the findings are promising. It remains to further verify the capacity of the new method on a dataset with higher resolution satellite imagery.

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