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Designing optimal spectral indexes for remote sensing applications

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2 Author(s)
Verstraete, M.M. ; Space Appl. Inst., EC Joint Res. Centre, Ispra, Italy ; Pinty, B.

Satellite remote sensing data constitute a significant potential source of information on our environment, provided they can be adequately interpreted. Vegetation indexes, a subset of the class of spectral indexes, represent one of the most commonly used approaches to analyze data in the optical domain. An optimal spectral index is very sensitive to the desired information (e.g. the amount of vegetation), and as insensitive as possible to perturbing factors (such as soil color changes or atmospheric effects). Since both the desired signal and the perturbing factors vary spectrally, and since the instruments themselves only provide data for particular spectral bands, optimal indexes should be designed for specific applications and particular instruments. This paper describes a rational approach to the design of an optimal index to estimate vegetation properties on the basis of the red and near-infrared reflectances of the AVHRR instrument, taking into account the perturbing effects of soil brightness changes, atmospheric absorption and scattering. The rationale behind the Global Environment Monitoring index (GEMI) is explained, and this index is proposed as an alternative to the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) for global applications. The techniques described here are generally applicable to any multispectral sensor and application

Published in:

Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:34 ,  Issue: 5 )