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Dr Mike J Smith
Kingston University

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July
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Problems of bias in mapping linear landforms from satellite imagery.

Mon, 10 Jul 2006

M.J. Smith and S.M. Wise
International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, 9, 65-78.


Remotely sensed images are an important data source for the mapping of glacial landforms and the reconstruction of past glacial environments. However the results produced can differ depending on a wide range of factors related to the type of sensors used and the characteristics of the landforms being mapped. This paper uses a range of satellite imagery to explore the three main sources of variation in the mapped results: relative size, azimuth biasing and landform signal strength. Recommendations include the use of imagery illuminated with low solar elevation, although an awareness of the selective bias introduced by solar azimuth is necessary. Landsat ETM+ imagery meets the requirements for glacial landform mapping and is the recommended data source. However users may well have to consider alternative data in the form of SPOT, Landsat TM or Landsat MSS images. Digital elevation models should also be considered a valuable data source.

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