Data used for the study "UAV-based Subsurface Data Collection Using a Low-Tech Ground-Truthing Payload System Enhances Shallow-Water Monitoring"
Unoccupied Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) are a widely applied tool used to monitor shallow-water habitats. A recurrent issue when conducting UAV-based monitoring of submerged habitats is the collection of ground-truthing data needed as training and validation samples for the classification of aerial imagery as well as for the identification of ecologically relevant information such as the vegetation depth limit. To address these limitations, a payload system was developed to collect subsurface data in the form of videos and depth measurements. In a 7 ha large study area, 136 point observations were collected and subsequently used to 1) train and validate the object-based classification of aerial imagery, 2) create a class distribution map based on the interpolation of point observations, 3) identify additional ecological relevant information and 4) create a bathymetry map of the study area. The classification based on ground-truthing samples achieved an overall accuracy of 98 % and agreed to 84 % with the class distribution map based on point interpolation. Additional ecologically relevant information such as the vegetation depth limit was recorded and a bathymetry map of the study site created. The findings of this study show that UAV-based shallow-water monitoring can be improved by applying the proposed tool.