Current Research


Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death (ROD)

SDAV is currently monitoring the spread of Ceratocystis fimbriata, also known as Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death (ROD), a newly identified strain of fungus that is killing native ʻŌhiʻa trees (Metrosideros polymorpha). We are collecting repeat high-resolution videos/imagery from sUAS platforms to assess progression rates and spatial patterns of tree mortality associated with ROD. Future work with hyperspectral remote sensing may allow us to identify infected trees before symptoms becomes visible. For more information on ROD, please visit:
Spatial Data Analysis and Visualization Labs

University of Hawaiʻi at Hilo


We are researching the effectiveness of using sUAS platforms in the fight against non-native weeds, including miconia (Miconia calvescens). Miconia is an invasive noxious weed found throughout the main Hawaiian Islands that shades out native plant species and quickly takes over a forest to create an invasive monotypic forest.

Maunakea Summit Erosion  

Maunakea is a dormant shield volcano that reaches 4,205 meters on the island of Hawaiʻi that is undergoing both natural and anthropogenic erosion. SDAV created a baseline high-resolution topographic dataset of the summit area and is using repeat terrestrial LiDAR and sUAS imagery to quantify and monitor erosion rates to better aid mangement practices.
Outplant Growth at Keaukaha Military Reservation   Native lowland wet forests in Hawaiʻi are disappearing due to aggressive invasive species dominating the forest. SDAV assisted Dr. Rebecca Ostertag (UH Hilo Biology) by developing bare earth digital elevation models and approximating surface roughness to characterize terrain as it relates to outplant growth in experimental plots. This information will be compared to the 'liko nā pilina' database to determine if ʻaʻā lava field roughness effects outplant growth.

Shoreline Change

Hawaiʻi Island’s coastal resources are vulnerable to the combined impacts of erosion, subsidence, and sea level rise. We are using remote sensing techniques to quantify historic and contemporary shoreline change rates at Kapoho (a subsiding lava field), Hāpuna (A white sandy beach), and Honoliʻi (a sea cliff). Results from this study will be used to support the County of Hawaiʻi’s efforts to produce a scientifically relevant shoreline setback policy. For more information, please visit:
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Pu`uhonua O Hōnaunau UAS Survey

We partnered with the National Park Service to conduct sUAS flights over Puʻuhonua o Hōnaunau National Historical Park, an area with a culturally and historically important stand of palm trees in decline due to a suspected fungal disease. SDAV employed both optical and hyperspectral sensors to identify palm trees with reduced health.
Click on the picture to view ROD video!
Click on the picture to view Maunakea video!

Andong, South Korea, River Experiement

We are collaborating with researchers from South Korea and the US Geological Survey’s Geomorphology and Sediment Transport Laboratory to conduct studies of contaminant, dispersion and surface water/groundwater interactions using sUAS hyperspectral data at the River Experiment Center in Andong, South Korea. The facility at Andong is part of the Korea Institute of Civil Engineering and Building Technology, affiliated with Seoul National University. For more informaiton, please visit:
Current Research


© Lorem Ipsum Dolor

Rapid ‘Ohi’a Death(ROD)

Rapid ʻŌhiʻa Death, a newly discovered disease, is quickly infecting and killing endemic ʻōhiʻa trees on the island of Hawai`i. SDAV is working to understand if short, repeat interval high spatial resolution (~5cm) mapping of ROD- affected areas provide any valuable insights into its’ spread or control. We have been gathering high resolution images and video over a 450 acre study site since February, 2016. For more information on ROD, please visit: ml