Full text: Remote sensing for resources development and environmental management (Volume 1)

Symposium on Remote Sensing for Resources Development and Environmental Management / Enschede / August 1986 
Thematic Mapping by Satellite - A new tool for planning and 
J.W.van den Brink & R.Beck 
DHV Consulting Engineers, Amersfoort, Netherlands 
Geodetic Department of the Delft University of Technology, Netherlands 
ABSTRACT: The new generation of "high-resolution" remote sensing satellites will increase the number of 
applications drastically. It is believed that the imagery of these new satellite systems will play a 
substantial role in the planning and management practices of land and water. Even in countries where a well- 
developed structure for geo-data processing exists such as the Netherlands, satellite remote sensing forms an 
important additional source of information in planning and management. This latter statement is also supported 
by the encouraging results of the case study presented in this article. The objective of the study was to 
evaluate the possibilities of the new satellite imagery and to present the obtained information in a way 
accessible to planners, etc. Therefore the concept of the "Satellite Thematic Map" was adopted as a user- 
friendly endproduct useful for a large user community. In the article, characteristics of the Satellite 
Thematic Map for the "Kromme Rijn " Area in the Netherlands are discussed. 
RESUME: La génération nouvelle des satellites de télédétections a "haute résolution" augmente le nombre 
d'applications de façon dramatigue. Ces systèmes spatiales joueront une rôle substantielle dans les techniques 
de planification et aménagement des ressources naturelles. Aussi bien dans les pays qui disposent d'une 
infrastructure de géodate la télédétection par satellite est une source d'information importante. Cette 
conclusion est supportée par les resultates encourageantes de l'étude présente dans cette article. L'objective 
de l'étude était d'évaluer les possibilités des images satellites nouvelles et de présenter l'information 
obtenue d'une façon accessible pour une grande communauté de planificateurs. Avec cette objective le concept 
du Carte Thématique par Satellite est élabore et appligué pour une zone rurale au Pays-Bas. 
With The launch of Landsat-4 in june 1982 a new era 
of satellite remote sensing started. On board of 
this satellite a new sensor system was installed, the 
Thematic Mapper (TM) next to the conventional Multi 
Spectral Scanner (MSS) sensor system increasing the 
spatial resolution of 80m*80m to 30m- v 30m. Recently on 
february 22, 1986 the French/Swedish SPOT-1 (Systeme 
Probatoire d'Observation de la Terre) remote sensing 
satellite was launched increasing the spatial 
resolution to lOnAlOm. This development required an 
evaluation of the possibilities for application of 
this new information stream in planning and 
management of the land and water resources in the 
Netherlands. Use was made of Thematic Mapper imagery 
because at the time the study was carried 
out SPOT-1 was not launched. Future research will 
concentrate on the evaluation of SPOT imagery and on 
the comparison of Thematic Mapper with SPOT imagery. 
Before the launch of Landsat-4 with onboard the 
Thematic Mapper sensor system the use of satellite 
remote sensing for land applications in the 
Netherlands were very limited. This was caused by 
the restricted spatial resolution of the conventional 
sensor systems in use of which the Multi Spectral 
Scanner (MSS) onboard the Landsat series of 
satellites with 80m*80m is best known. This situation 
is expected to change with the use of the high 
resolution sensors. The higher resolution meets more 
closely the detail of information needed in planning 
and management in the Netherlands. DHV Consulting 
Engineers carried out a case study to evaluate these 
possibilities of the new imagery and to establish the 
contribution which can be made to the already 
existing well-developed information structure present 
in the Netherlands. A second objective of the study 
became to develop a method to present the satellite 
information in a way accessible to a large community 
of planners, who are not acquainted to the use of 
remote sensing data. 
For the project use was made of Thematic Mapper 
imagery of august 22, 1984 and january 23, 1983 of an 
area in the central part of the Netherlands, the 
"Kromme Rijn" Area. This region was chosen since it 
contains different land use types, small sized (<1.0 
ha) agricultural fields and many small-scaled 
landscape elements. The project was carried out in 
two phases; the first phase was a qualitative 
evaluation of the thematic content of the imagery, 
the second phase concerned a more quantitative 
approach towards the preparation of the thematic 
content in the imagery onto a map. This lead to the 
development of the "Satellite Thematic Map". The 
imagery was processed on the RESEDA image processing 
system (DIPIX) of the National Aerial and Space 
Laboratory, NLR, The Netherlands. Contact prints for 
further analysis were made of false color and 
especially 4,5,3 channel combination composites. 
During the second phase as a test experiment a 
thematic map was prepared on which the land use 
changes were given in comparing to the most recent 
topographical map of that area. The topographical map 
used was of 1985 but based on aerial photography of 
1980. Therefore land use changes in a 4 year period 
were presented on the thematic map. 
3.1 Sensor characteristics 
Characteristics of the Landsat Thematic Mapper and 
Spot system are presentend in table 1. The sensors 
onboard the SPOT-1 satellite record in two different 
modes; one 10m*10m spatial resolution panchromatic 
mode and a multispectral mode with a 20m*20m spatial 
resolution. A new feature of SPOT is its off-nadir

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