Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

First Advisor

Dennis Helder

Second Advisor

Larry Leigh


EPICS, GEE, PICS, Radiometric Calibration, Remote Sensing


Pseudo Invariant Calibration Sites (PICS) have been increasingly used as an independent data source for on-orbit radiometric calibration and stability monitoring of optical satellite sensors. Generally, this would be a small region of land that is extremely stable in time and space, predominantly found in North Africa. Use of these small regions, referred to as traditional PICS, can be limited by: i) the spatial extent of an individual Region of Interest (ROI) and/or site; ii) and the frequency of how often the site can be acquired, based on orbital patterns and cloud cover at the site, both impacting the time required to construct a richly populated temporal dataset. This paper uses a new class of continental scaled PICS clusters (also known as Extended PICS or EPICS), to demonstrate their capability in increasing temporal frequency of the calibration time series which ultimately allows calibration and stability assessment at a much finer scale compared to the traditional PICSbased method while also reducing any single location’s potential impact to the overall assessment. The use of EPICS as a calibration site was evaluated using data from Landsat- 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI), Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+), and Sentinel-2A&B Multispectral Instrument (MSI) images at their full spatial resolutions. Initial analysis suggests that EPICS, at its full potential and with nominal cloud consideration, can significantly decrease the temporal revisit interval of moderate resolution sensors to as much as of 0.33 day (3 collects/day). A traditional PICS is expected to have a temporal uncertainty (defined as the ratio of temporal standard deviation and temporal mean) of 2-5% for TOA reflectance. Over the same time period EPICS produced a temporal uncertainty of 3%. But the advantage to be leveraged is the ability to detect sensor change quicker due to the denser dataset and reduce the impact of any potential ‘local’ changes. Moreover, this approach can be extended to any on-orbit sensor. An initial attempt to quantify the minimum detectable change (a threshold slope value which must be exceeded by the reflectance trend to be considered statistically significant) suggests that the use of EPICS can decrease the time period up to approximately half of that found using traditional PICS-based approach.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Landsat satellites -- Calibration.
Earth resources technology satellites -- Calibration.
Imaging systems -- Image quality.
Artificial satellites in remote sensing -- Calibration.
Remote sensing -- Data processing.
Artificial satellites -- Stability.



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright