IMPROVEMENTS IN USE OF SATELLITE IMAGES FOR MONITORING CHANGES IN HYDRO-ENVIRONMENTAL CONDITIONS

APCOM 2009
Michael J. Rosko, Janis Blainer-Fleming,
Abstract Abstract: Methods have been developed for processing and analyzing reflected solar radiation data obtained by Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper multispectral scanner. Spatial resolution for the Landsat series satellites is 30 meters per side per pixel. Materials on the Earth’s surface absorb or reflect different parts of the electromagnetic spectrum depending on their physical and chemical properties and, therefore, typically have characteristic spectral “signatures”. Using these signatures, environmental parameters such as surface water and vegetation may be identified and analyzed. Principal advantages of the satellite image method for environmental monitoring include: a relatively long historic period beginning in 1985 for which information is available, the reliable numerical basis for the results, and the ability to assemble a historic environmental baseline and provide on-going monitoring for large or remote areas where standard monitoring methods may not be practical. However, because the long-term continued operation of Landsat 5 is problematic due to the age of the equipment, QuickBird and IKONOS satellite images were processed to determine if the two systems are sufficiently similar in their results to allow continuing monitoring using QuickBird data.

The QuickBird satellite was launched in 2001 and collects the same visible and near infrared spectral bandwidths as Landsat 5, allowing for equivalent process algorithms for QuickBird, IKONOS, and Landsat 5 data. Spatial resolution for the QuickBird images is 2.4 meter per side, allowing for more detailed characterization of the land surface; spatial resolution for the IKONOS images is 4 meter per side. Because of several differences between the satellite systems, including degradation of the Landsat 5 sensor, it is necessary to calibrate QuickBird and IKONOS results to the Landsat results to verify similarity. Recent images from the satellite systems have been processed and results have been compared to determine the validity of comparing Landsat 5 and QuickBird/IKONOS images so that these newer data can be used reliably in the future instead of Landsat 5 data. Results from this comparison are presented in this paper and suggest that analyses for vegetation using the two satellite systems are comparable, and that little calibration is required. Results from comparison of surface water results from the two systems are less comparable and is currently being investigated by the authors.
Keywords: Satellite images, QuickBird, Vegetation, Monitoring, salar, Landsat, Chile, surface water
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