Processing of Multitemporal Landsat TM Imagery to Optimize Extraction of Forest Cover Change Features

Pol R. Coppin, Marvin E. Bauer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

169 Scopus citations


Digital procedures to optimize the information content of multitemporal Landsat TM data sets for forest cover change detection are described. Imagery from three different years (1984, 1986, and 1990) were calibrated to exoatmospheric reflectance to minimize sensor calibration offsets and standardize data acquisition aspects. Geometric rectification was followed by atmospheric normalization and correction routines. The normalization consisted of a statistical regression over time based on spatially well-defined and spectrally stable landscape features spanning the entire reflectance range. Linear correlation coefficients for all bitemporal band pairs ranged from 0.9884 to 0.9998. The correction mechanism used a dark object subtraction technique incorporating published values of water reflectance. The association between digital data and forest cover was maximized and interpretability enhanced by converting band-specific reflectance values into vegetation indexes. Bitemporal vegetation index pairs for each time interval (two, four, and six years) were subjected to two change detection algorithms, standardized differencing and selective principal component analysis. Optimal feature selection was based on statistical divergence measures. Although limited to spectrally-radiometrically defined change classes, results show that the relationship between reftective TM data and forest canopy change is explicit enough to be of operational use in a forest cover change stratification phase prior to a more detailed assessment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)918-927
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1994

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Manuscript received August 12, 1992; revised September 28, 1993 and February 14, 1994. This work was supported in part by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration under Grant NAGW-1431 and by the University of Minnesota under Agricultural Experiment Station Project 42-37.

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