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Using satellite imagery and LIDAR data to corroborate an adjudicated ordinary high water line

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Determination of the ordinary high water line (OHWL) has been and continues to be an important issue. The OHWL defines the separation of sovereignty lands and private ownership on non‐tidal water bodies. Determination of OHWL is conducted on a case‐by‐case basis in Florida through court challenges. A judge makes the decision on where the line exists based upon several criteria—including remote sensing data. This study investigated the possibility of using various remote sensing technologies to provide an efficient and accurate means of determining OHWL for a lake in central Florida. Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper (ETM) satellite imagery was compared with the higher resolution imagery IKONOS and Light Detection And Ranging (LIDAR) imagery in order to determine the water's edge and location of vegetation communities that may be correlated with OHWL. It was found that ETM imagery could be used only for mapping vegetation community transition zones and that this zone provided limited insight to OHWL. IKONOS imagery, on the other hand, was more promising for land cover mapping, but requires further study in order to draw general conclusions regarding its application to OHWL. LIDAR data provided the best results for determining OHWL, but also need further study over a larger area in order to draw final conclusions.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Agricultural Structures and Irrigation Department, College of Agriculture, Canakkale Onsekiz Mart University, 17020 Canakkale, Turkey 2: Geomatics Program, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611

Publication date: September 10, 2005

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