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Journal of Environmental Quality Abstract -

Evaluation of Surface Water Resources from Machine-Processing of ERTS Multispectral Data1


This article in JEQ

  1. Vol. 3 No. 4, p. 316-321
    Received: Nov 8, 1973

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  1. P. W. Mausel,
  2. W. J. Todd,
  3. M. F. Baumgardner,
  4. R. A. Mitchell and
  5. J. P. Cook2



Water resource data that are useful to environmental scientists and planners frequently are missing, incomplete, or obtained irregularity. A new source of surface hydrological information can be obtained as often as every 18 days in some areas through machine-processing of Earth Resources Technology Satellite (ERTS) multispectral scanner data. This research focused on the surface water resources of a large metropolitan area, Marion County (Indianapolis), Indiana, in order to assess the potential value of ERTS spectral analysis to water resources problems.

The results of the research indicate that all surface water bodies over 0.5 ha were identified accurately from ERTS multispectral analysis. Five distinct classes of water were identified and correlated with parameters which included the i) degree of water siltiness; ii) depth of water; iii) presence of macro and micro biotic forms in the water; and iv) presence of various chemical concentrations in the water. The machine-processing of ERTS spectral data used alone or in conjunction with conventional sources of hydrological information can lead to the monitoring of the i) area of surface water bodies; ii) estimated volume of selected surface water bodies; iii) differences in degree of silt and clay suspended in water; and iv) degree of water eutrophication related to chemical concentrations. Water resources information obtained from ERTS analysis will be useful in helping to solve or better understand selected pollution, erosion, and planning problems in metropolitan and other environments.

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