Assessment of the feasibility of utilizing Landsat for detection and monitoring of landfills in a statewide GIS


Use of satellite data could be beneficial and cost effective in detecting and monitoring landfills in a state-wide geographic information system (GIS). To assure the feasibility of this approach, multitemporal Landsat data were used to detect several selected active and inactive landfills in central and southwest Missouri. The landfills were visually delineated from aerial photography of approximately the same two dates. A classification procedure based on homogeneity of the digital numbers was performed on each landfill scene for each time period using four spectral bands: two visible, one near-infrared, and one mid-infrared. The mid-infrared band proved more useful in delineating landfills, especially when spectral change was compared to the near-infrared band. The active landfills were spectrally different from surrounding land cover as were the two landfills which closed after the collection of the first Landsat scene. These landfills showed considerable areal change between the two selected time periods as verified by the aerial photographs. The inactive landfills were more difficult to discern from surrounding land cover types because they were grass covered and spectrally similar to pasture. Consequently, areal change could not be assigned to these older landfills because the reclamation process was practically complete.

Document Type





Landfill monitoring, Landsat, Remote sensing

Publication Date


Journal Title

Environmental Geology