Airborne multispectral digital imagery was used to detect imported fire ant mounds in northeast Mississippi pasture. Images were acquired using a GeoVantage GeoScanner camera system, flown at an altitude of 610 m, for a resolution of 0.25 m, and 305 m, for a resolution of 0.1 m. Images were obtained during May 2002, August 2002, November 2002, and February 2003. Distinct mound signatures could be seen in images from May, November, and February; August images were difficult to interpret. Many mounds appeared as dark or light spots of bare soil surrounded by a halo of vigorous vegetation. Up to 75% of mounds were visible in false color infrared images. Mound characteristics (area, height, activity, percent vegetation cover) and image characteristics (image color, spatial resolution) all affected mound detection for at least one sampling period. Increasing spatial resolution from 0.25 to 0.1 m did not affect mound detection in May; during other times of the year, increased resolution improved detection by ≈38%. False color infrared images were generally superior to true color images for mound detection. Potential overestimation because of commission errors was 17–29%.
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