Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

First Advisor

Larry Leigh


Empirical line Method (ELM), Landsat; Operational Land Imager (OLI), Level2-collection 2(L2C2), Surface Reflectance (SR), Thematic Mapper (TM), Top of Atmosphere (TOA) reflectance


Atmospherically corrected surface reflectance (SR) products are used for reliable monitoring of land surfaces and are the standard products of Landsat sensors. Due to increased demand for SR products, a need exists to verify that the L2C2 (Level-2 Collection-2) SR products are precise and accurate. The Level-2 Collection 2 (L2C2) SR Product is processed satellite imagery data that corrects for atmospheric effects such as absorption and scattering, providing a more accurate representation of Earth's surface. The validation of SR products using ground truth measurement is essential. This study aims to develop and evaluate a validation methodology for satellite SR products. Thus, the Empirical Line Method (ELM) is used here for atmospheric validation of remotely sensed data. Validation is performed using the SR derived from ELM tied to ground truth measurement. Absolute surface reflectance models of Algodones Dunes and the Salton Sea located in North America Sonoran Desert are developed to extend the temporally limited ground truth measurements. This model can give ground truth reflectance in any time frame independent of time constraints. The result of the absolute surface reflectance model of Algodones Dunes indicates that the model predicts the response of Algodones Dunes with an average accuracy of 0.0041 and precision of 0.0063 and gives ground measurements across all multispectral between 350-2500nm. For the Salton Sea the model predicts the response of the Salton Sea with mean absolute error (MAE) of 0.0035 and gives ground measurements across all multispectral between 350-2500nm. The ELM generates atmospheric coefficients (gain and bias) which are applied to an image to obtain SR. Validation results indicated for L9-OLI-2, L8-OLI, and L5-TM-SR products give the RMSE range of 0.0019 to 0.0106, 0.0019 to 0.0148 and 0.0026 to 0.0045 reflectance unit, respectively, and accuracy within 0.0038, 0.0022, and 0.0055 reflectance unit across all spectral bands of L9, L8, and L5 respectively. On average, the validation result showed a strong linear relation between the L2C2 SR products and ELM SR within 0.5 to 1 reflectance units. These results demonstrate the high accuracy and reliability of the L2C2 SR product, providing valuable information for a wide range of remote sensing applications, including land cover and land use mapping, vegetation monitoring, and climate change studies.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Landsat satellites.
Imaging systems -- Image quality.
Remote sensing -- Quality control.
Artificial satellites in remote sensing.


South Dakota State University



Rights Statement

In Copyright