Electronic Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

M.S. in Engineering Science


Geology and Geological Engineering

First Advisor

Lance Yarbrough

Second Advisor

Greg Easson

Third Advisor

Louis G. Zachos

Relational Format



In the US there are approximately 33,000 miles of levees. This includes 14,500 miles of levee systems associated with US Army Corps of Engineers programs and approximately 15,000 miles from other state and federal agencies. More than 14 million people live behind levees and associated flood prevention infrastructure. Monitoring and risk assessment are an on-going process, especially during times of flood conditions. The city of New Orleans was heavily impacted by Hurricane Katrina in 2005 by storm surges and intense rainfall. The impact of the hurricane was substantial enough to cause levee failure and I-wall toppling where many of the levees were breached and waters flooded the city. Subsidence and increasing population are likely to make flooding events more frequent and costly. As new technologies emerge, monitoring and risk assessment can benefit to increase community resiliency. In this research, I investigate the use of the structure from motion photogrammetric method to monitor positional changes in invariant objects such as levees, specifically, I-walls. This method uses conventional digital images from multiple view locations and angles by either a moving aerial platform or terrestrial photography. Using parallel coded software and accompanying hardware, 3D point clouds, digital surface models and orthophotos can be created. By providing comparisons of similar processing workflows with a variety of imaging acquisition criteria using commercially available unmanned aerial systems (UAS), we created multiple image sets of a simulated I-wall at various flight elevations, look angles, and effective overlap. The comparisons can be used for sensor selection and mission planning to improve the quality of the final product.



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