Using GPS-surveyed intertidal zones to determine the validity of shorelines automatically mapped by Landsat water indices

TitleUsing GPS-surveyed intertidal zones to determine the validity of shorelines automatically mapped by Landsat water indices
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsKelly JT, Gontz AM
Volume65
Pagination92-104
Date Published2018/03
ISBN Number0303-2434
KeywordsBrazil; Coastal change; Geomorphology; Massachusetts; Remote sensing; Satellite imagery
Abstract

Satellite remote sensing has been used extensively in a variety of shoreline studies and validated using aerial photography. This ground truth method only represents an instantaneous depiction of the shoreline at the time of acquisition and does not take into account the spatial and temporal variability of the dynamic shoreline boundary. Landsat 8′s Operational Land Imager sensor's capability to accurately delineate a shoreline is assessed by comparing all known Landsat water index-derived shorelines with two GPS-surveyed intertidal zones that coincide with the satellite flyover date, one of which had near-neap tide conditions. Seven indices developed for automatically classifying water pixels were evaluated for their ability to delineate shorelines. The shoreline is described here as the area above and below maximum low and high tide, otherwise known as the intertidal zone. The high-water line, or wet/dry sediment line, was chosen as the shoreline indicator to be mapped using a handheld GPS. The proportion of the Landsat-derived shorelines that fell within this zone and their alongshore profile lengths were calculated. The most frequently used water index and the predecessor to Modified Normalized Difference Water Index (MNDWI), Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI), was found to be the least accurate by a significant margin. Other indices required calibration of their threshold value to achieve accurate results, thus diminishing their replicability success for other regions. MNDWI was determined to be the best index for automated shoreline mapping, based on its superior accuracy and repeatable, stable threshold value.

DOI10.1016/j.jag.2017.10.007
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