Canadian Forest Service Publications

Evaluation of Landsat-7 SLC-off image products for forest change detection. 2008. Wulder, M.A.; Ortlepp, S.M.; White, J.C.; Maxwell, S. Canadian Journal of Remote Sensing 34 (2): 93-99.

Year: 2008

Available from: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 28823

Language: English

CFS Availability: PDF (download)


Since July 2003, Landsat-7 ETM+ has been operating without the scan line corrector (SLC), which compensates for the forward motion of the satellite in the imagery acquired. Data collected in SLC-off mode have gaps in a systematic wedge-shaped pattern outside of the central 22 km swath of the imagery; however, the spatial and spectral quality of the remaining portions of the imagery are not diminished. To explore the continued use of Landsat-7 ETM+ SLC-off imagery to characterize change in forested environments, we compare the change detection results generated from a reference image pair (a 1999 Landsat-7 ETM+ image and a 2003 Landsat-5 TM image) with change detection results generated from the same 1999 Landsat-7 ETM+ image coupled with three different 2003 Landsat-7 SLC-off products: unremediated SLC-off (i.e., with gaps); histogram-based gap-filled; and segment-based gap-filled. The results are compared on both a pixel and polygon basis; on a pixel basis, the unremediated SLC-off product missed 35% of the change identified by the reference data, and the histogram- and segment-based gap-filled products missed 23% and 21% of the change, respectively. When using forest inventory polygons as a context for change (to reduce commission error), the amount of change missed was 31%, 14%, and 12% for the each of the unremediated, histogram-based gap-filled, and segment-based gap-filled products, respectively. Our results indicate that over the time period considered, and given the types and spatial distribution of change events within our study area, the gap-filled products can provide a useful data source for change detection in forested environments. The selection of which product to use is, however, very dependent on the nature of the application and the spatial configuration of change events.

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