Cartographic potential of ASTER VNIR imagery
Lund, Larry Dean
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Published research papers on the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection radiometer (ASTER) have assessed either its thematic (land cover classification) or its heighting (stereoscopic terrain modeling) accuracies, with heighting assessments primarily of high-relief terrain. This thesis takes a comprehensive approach to assessing ASTER’s cartographic potential by examining both thematic and heighting accuracies in an area of moderate relief. Using Level 1-B processed VNIR imagery, land cover was classified using supervised and unsupervised techniques yielding approximate overall accuracies of 76% and 83% respectively. Stereoimages of the same area were then oriented and used to locate and measure coordinates of 50 GPS points collected throughout the image area, generate a digital elevation model (DEM), and digitize contours. Comparison of these three terrain measures with reference data yielded a heighting accuracy of 11 meters, adequate for 1:50,000 or smaller scale mapping. Significant elevation errors caused by high tree canopies were also noticed.