The goal of this research is to map land cover patterns and to detect changes that occurred at Alkali Flat and Lake Lucero, White Sands using multispectral Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+), Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER), Advanced Land Imager (ALI), and hyperspectral Hyperion and Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS) data. The other objectives of this study were: (1) to evaluate the information dimensionality limits of Landsat 7 ETM+, ASTER, ALI, Hyperion, and AVIRIS data with respect to signal-to-noise and spectral resolution, (2) to determine the spatial distribution and fractional abundances of land cover endmembers, and (3) to check ground correspondence with satellite data. A better understanding of the spatial and spectral resolution of these sensors, optimum spectral bands and their information contents, appropriate image processing methods, spectral signatures of land cover classes, and atmospheric effects are needed to our ability to detect and map minerals from space. Image spectra were validated using samples collected from various localities across Alkali Flat and Lake Lucero. These samples were measured in the laboratory using VNIR-SWIR (0.4-2.5 m) spectra and X-ray Diffraction (XRD) method. Dry gypsum deposits, wet gypsum deposits, standing water, green vegetation, and clastic alluvial sediments dominated by mixtures of ferric iron (ferricrete) and calcite were identified in the study area using Minimum Noise Fraction (MNF), Pixel Purity Index (PPI), and n-D Visualization. The results of MNF confirm that AVIRIS and Hyperion data have higher information dimensionality thresholds exceeding the number of available bands of Landsat 7 ETM+, ASTER, and ALI data. ASTER and ALI data can be a reasonable alternative to AVIRIS and Hyperion data for the purpose of monitoring land cover, hydrology and sedimentation in the basin. The spectral unmixing analysis and dimensionality eigen analysis between the various datasets helped to uncover the most optimum spatial-spectral-temporal and radiometric-resolution sensor characteristics for remote sensing based on monitoring of seasonal land cover, surface water, groundwater, and alluvial sediment input changes within the basin. The results demonstrated good agreement between ground truth data and XRD analysis of samples, and the results of Matched Filtering (MF) mapping method. © 2011 Elsevier B.V.
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