Thesis subject

MSc thesis topic: Hyperspectral Cyanobacteria detection and monitoring

Cyanobacteria pose serious problems for Water boards in the Netherlands. This research aims to find practical methods for monitoring the Cyanobacteria by UAV.

Water boards all over the Netherlands have to cope with the Cyanobacteria, commonly known as blue-green algae. These bacteria can be harmful for water recreationists and livestock and are a recuring problem during the summer months / temperatures above 25 degrees Celsius.

Current monitoring is done by taking lab-samples or by single beam hyperspectral measurements (more specifically the WISP-3). These instruments have some limitations:

  • Not all waterways are easily accessible by land;
  • Taking measurements in the middle of large water bodies can be difficult;
  • The current number of measurements often don’t allow for accurate monitoring of the spreading of the Cyanobacteria, or the successfulness of flushing them out of an area.

In this research we would like to explore the monitoring of the Cyanobacteria by hyperspectral measurements from an UAV.

Cyanobacteria blooms only occur during a short period of time in June, July and August. UAV imagery and reference measurements will be supplied.


  • Correlating hyperspectral measurements with established Cyanobacteria measurements;
  • Deriving spectral indices that characterize the presence of Cyanobacteria;
  • Establishing the minimal conditions (for example spectral resolution and range) for detecting Cyanobacteria by UAV.


Theme(s): Sensing & measuring; Modelling & visualisation