Detecting and Monitoring Informal Trails in an Urban Mountain Preserve Using Small Unmanned Aerial Systems

  • Tony H. Grubesic
  • Jake R. Nelson


Informal trails represent a serious threat to open spaces, parks, wilderness areas, and protected natural areas in many different locations and contexts. From vegetation loss, the displacement of wildlife, and alteration of habitats to soil degradation and erosion, landscape fragmentation, and the spread of invasive species, significant and continual effort to detect, monitor, and interdict informal trails is required. The purpose of this chapter is to detail the ways in which small unmanned aerial systems can contribute to efforts for detecting the presence of informal trails. A case study of the Phoenix Mountains Preserves in Phoenix, Arizona helps to illustrate how basic spatial analytics combined with sUAS imagery can identify landscape fragmentation and potential interdiction points for minimizing the use of informal trails for enhancing landscape recovery.


Informal trails Preserve Soil Wildland Piestewa ArcGIS FRAGSTATS Field inventory 


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tony H. Grubesic
    • 1
  • Jake R. Nelson
    • 1
  1. 1.Geoinformatics and Policy Analytics Lab (GPAL), School of InformationUniversity of Texas at AustinAustinUSA

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