A Methodology For Using Thematic Mapper Landsat Remotely Sensed Data to Determine Environmental Quality

Date of Graduation

Spring 1991


Master of Science in Geospatial Sciences


Geography, Geology, and Planning

Committee Chair

Vincent Kurtz


This study determines the relationship between Landsat Thematic Mapper remotely sensed digital data and the spectral reflectance of an ecosystem. This relationship can be used to infer environmental quality of a pristine wilderness area, such as Piney Creek Wilderness. The environmental variables studied were geology, topography, soils, hydrology, climate, cultural features, and vegetation as a surrogate for the quality of the whole ecosystem. This includes a study of the interrelationship between these variables. The results of this study indicate that Thematic Mapper Band 5 is the best band for determining land cover for March or October data; there is a relationship between digital number values and spectral reflectance percentage, and that environmental quality can be inferred from these data. The digital number values compared with those from an environmentally "good" reference area indicated that the study area had good quality. The data acquired during other times of the year would be needed to confirm or deny any environmental degradation.

Subject Categories

Earth Sciences


© Jimmie Kay Maples