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Abstract

Many attempts to observe changes in terrestrial systems over time would be significantly enhanced if it were possible to improve the accuracy of classifications of low-resolution historic satellite data. In an effort to examine improving the accuracy of historic satellite image classification by combining satellite and air photo data, two experiments were undertaken in which low-resolution multispectral data and high-resolution panchromatic data were combined and then classified using the ECHO spectral-spatial image classification algorithm and the Maximum Likelihood technique. The multispectral data consisted of 6 multispectral channels (30-meter pixel resolution) from Landsat 7. These data were augmented with panchromatic data (15m pixel resolution) from Landsat 7 in the first experiment, and with a mosaic of digital aerial photography (1m pixel resolution) in the second. The addition of the Landsat 7 panchromatic data provided a significant improvement in the accuracy of classifications made using the ECHO algorithm. Although the inclusion of aerial photography provided an improvement in accuracy, this improvement was only statistically significant at a 40-60% level. These results suggest that once error levels associated with combining aerial photography and multispectral satellite data are reduced, this approach has the potential to significantly enhance the precision and accuracy of classifications made using historic remotely sensed data, as a way to extend the time range of efforts to track temporal changes in terrestrial systems.

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