Thesis: Satellite Imaging

Sample Thesis Paper

A large number of satellites are orbiting the earth, providing us with images if the planet’s surface. An important application of satellite imaging is the mapping and monitoring of erosion features. High-resolution satellites such as LANDSAT and SPOT have the ability to assist in the detection of erosion features, distinguish the shoreline and classify the vegetation of coastal zones offering image data at resolutions >5–10m (Fromard et al 2004), whereas more advanced satellite sensors such as IKONOS and Quickbird can achieve even higher spatial resolutions <4m and also have the ability for stereo mapping. Data deriving from these new generation satellites have been used in several past studies. Satellite imaging may be obscured by cloud cover and cannot be directed to capture imagery at specified times.
Frihy et al (1994) studied coastal erosion and shoreline changes along the Rosetta promontory in north-western Nile Delta with satellite images taken by LANDSAT between 1972 and 1991. Erosion was found to be more prominent along the promontory tip with erosion patterns decreasing with the longshore distance. Malini and Rao (2004) analysed satellite data derived from four different satellite sensors for the period 1976-2001 for the Godavari Delta area, India. Their study revealed significant coastal erosion and loss of 18.36km² of coastal land causing coastal communities displacement. Lafon et al (2004) obtained data from high-resolution SPOT satellite images and studied morphologic changes in shallow water sandbanks in the south west of France for the period 1986-2000. Transport rates of the migration of the intertidal systems and were calculated and the results were validated in the field. In a very interesting study highlighting the various potential applications of satellite imagery, Chen et al (2005) used high-resolution satellite images from SPOT 5 to assess the damages caused by the December 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami in the northern part of Aceh, Indonesia. Extensive shoreline erosion, aquaculture ponds and vegetation damage and man-made structures destruction was observed. The authors concluded that high-resolution satellite images can be used for rapid tsunami damage assessment. Mapping of damage can also be important for the rehabilitation process.

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