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Remote sensing for resources development and environmental management
Damen, M. C. J.

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