During 1971 and 1972 a detailed study was conducted on a fallow field in the proposed Oahe Irrigation Project to determine the relationship between the tonal variation observed on aerial photographs and the properties of eroded soil. Correlation and regression analysis of digitized, multiemulsion, color infrared film (2443) data and detailed field data revealed a highly significant correlation between film transmittance and several soil properties indicative of the erosion limitation. Computer classification of the multiemulsion film data resulted in maps portraying the eroded soil and the normal soil. Both correlation and computer classification results were best using the reflectance data from the red spectral band. The results showed film transmittance was actually measuring the reflectivity of the soil surface which was increased by the incorporation of the light colored, calcareous parent material exposed by erosion or tillage on soils with thin surface horizons.
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