Airborne imaging spectroscopy to monitor urban mosquito microhabitats

David R. Thompson, Manuel de la Torre Juárez, Chris Barker, Jodi Holeman, Sarah Lundeen, Steve Mulligan, Thomas H. Painter, Erika Podest, Felix C. Seidel, Eugene Ustinov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


West Nile (WNV) is now established in the continental United States with new human cases occurring annually in most states. Mosquitoes in the genus Culex are the primary vectors and exploit urban stagnant water and swimming pools as larval habitats. Public health surveys to monitor unmaintained pools typically rely on visual inspections of aerial imagery. This work demonstrates automated analysis of airborne imaging spectroscopy to assist Culex monitoring campaigns. We analyze an overflight of Fresno County, CA by the Airborne Visible Infrared Imaging Spectrometer instrument (AVIRIS), and compare the spectral information with a concurrent ground survey of swimming pools. Matched filter detection strategies reliably detect pools against a cluttered urban background. We also evaluate remotely sensed spectral markers of ecosystem characteristics related to larval colonization. We find that commonly used chlorophyll signatures accurately predict the probability of pool colonization by Culex larvae. These results suggest that AVIRIS spectral data provide sufficient information to remotely identify pools at risk for Culex colonization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)226-233
Number of pages8
JournalRemote Sensing of Environment
StatePublished - Oct 1 2013


  • Disease vector control
  • Green swimming pools
  • Imaging spectroscopy
  • Matched filter detection
  • Urban environments
  • West Nile virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Soil Science
  • Geology
  • Computers in Earth Sciences


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