Automated monitoring of vegetation health in a landscape is often attributed to calculating values of various vegetation indexes over a period of time. However, such approaches suffer from an inaccurate estimation of vegetational change due to the over-reliance of index values on vegetation’s colour attributes and the availability of multi-spectral bands. One common observation is the sensitivity of colour attributes to seasonal variations and imaging devices, thus leading to false and inaccurate change detection and monitoring. In addition, these are very strong assumptions in a citizen science project. In this article, we build upon our previous work on developing a Semantic Vegetation Index (SVI) and expand it to introduce a semantic vegetation health monitoring platform to monitor vegetation health in a large landscape. However, unlike our previous work, we use RGB images of the Australian landscape for a quarterly series of images over six years (2015–2020). This Semantic Vegetation Index (SVI) is based on deep semantic segmentation to integrate it with a citizen science project (Fluker Post) for automated environmental monitoring. It has collected thousands of vegetation images shared by various visitors from around 168 different points located in Australian regions over six years. This paper first uses a deep learning-based semantic segmentation model to classify vegetation in repeated photographs. A semantic vegetation index is then calculated and plotted in a time series to reflect seasonal variations and environmental impacts. The results show variational trends of vegetation cover for each year, and the semantic segmentation model performed well in calculating vegetation cover based on semantic pixels (overall accuracy = 97.7%). This work has solved a number of problems related to changes in viewpoint, scale, zoom, and seasonal changes in order to normalise RGB image data collected from different image devices.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0270625
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
JournalPLoS One
Issue number7 July
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jul 2022


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