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Characterization of Surface Reflectance


Although Landsat measures seven wavelengths of the electromagnetic spectrum, only three measurements may be displayed in a color image. Three measurements are commonly used when viewing Landsat imagery: infrared, red, and green.

A commonly used false color scheme for viewing this type of Landsat data is to make ALL the energies false color. The images on the right use this color scheme.
Satellite Measurement
Computer Color
Near Infrared
Red
Red
Green
Green
Blue

Materials

What To Do...

    Use the 'FalseColor' tab panel in DigitalImageBasics to rank the intensities of reflected infrared, red, and green light from the list of surfaces.

5 = maximum reflected values, 0 = no reflected light.
Surface
Cover
Infrared
Red
Green
Color in Landsat Image
Forest        
Lawns        
Crops        
Water        
Snow        
Cloud        
Rock/Soil        
Buildings        
Paved Roads        

Suggestion: Change the way you display the satellite data to see how much each set of reflectance measurements is contributing to the combined intensities within the image.

 Download the following images by right-clicking on each image and saving to your computer.

Mt. St. Helens, a volcano in Washington State, in 1973

Mt. St. Helens, a volcano in Washington State, in 1973. Image fromUSGS Earthshots.

Rondonia, a tropical rain forest in Brazil in 1975

Rondonia, a tropical rain forest in Brazil in 1975. Image from USGS EarthShots.

>Great Salt Lake, Utah in 1987.

Great Salt Lake, Utah in 1987. Image from USGS Earthshots.

Orlando, Florida in 1986.

Orlando, Florida in 1986. Image from USGS Earthshots.

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