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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

First Advisor

Dennis Helder


The primary objective of this project was to consistently calibrate the entire Landsat series sensors to a common radiometric scale by establishing cross-calibration connections from the Landsat-8 OLI back to Landsat-1 MSS. First, the lifetime radiometric stability of all Landsat sensors was studied using bright-PICS, i.e. Sonoran Desert, and a new class of dark PICS, i.e. Crater Lake and Lake Tahoe. From the responses of these sensors, it was found that for dark targets there exist negative radiance values for green and NIR-1 bands of Landsat-1 and Landsat-2 MSS sensors indicating the need for re-calibration. Next, a consistent cross-calibration of all Landsat sensors was achieved using coincident/near-coincident scene pairs acquired during periods of spatial and temporal overlap of these sensors. For the whole archive calibration, initially all the MSS sensors (Landsat1-4) were mapped into Landsat-5 MSS and then Landsat-5 MSS was cross-calibrated to Landsat-5 TM, Landsat-5 TM was cross-calibrated to Landsat-7 ETM+, and finally Landsat-7 ETM+ was cross-calibrated to Landsat-8 OLI. The mismatching spectral filter responses for different sensors were addressed by deriving the scene specific spectral band adjustment factors prior to the cross-calibration. For determining the significance of the bias and gain terms derived from calibration, a t-test was performed with the null hypothesis being gain equals one and bias equals zero at the confidence interval of 99%. From the final calibration equation, it was found that for band 2 and 3 of Landsat-1 and -2 both bias and gain were significant. The effectiveness of these cross-calibration results were discussed by showing a significant improvement in the observed inconsistency of the absolute calibration of all Landsat sensors for both bright, as well as, dark targets. For the bright target, the uncertainty was reduced from 3.2% to 3.0% for the red band and from 4.5% to 3.6% for the NIR band. Similarly, for the dark targets, the uncertainties were reduced from 83% to less than 23% (high because of lower signal strength) for all the bands.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Landsat satellites -- Calibration Imaging systems -- Image quality


Includes bibliographical references (pages 83-87)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


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