Cross comparison of EO-1 sensors and other earth resources sensors to Landsat-7 ETM+ using Railroad Valley Playa

Kurtis J. Thome, Stuart F. Biggar, Wit Wisniewski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


The Remote Sensing Group at the University of Arizona has used ground-based test sites for the vicarious calibration of airborne and satellite-based sensors, of which the Railroad Valley Playa in north central Nevada has played a key role. This work presents a cross comparison of five satellite-based sensors that all imaged this playa on July 16, 2001. These sensors include the Advanced Land Imager and Hyperion on the Earth Observer-1 platform, the Landsat-7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+), Terra's Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer, and Space Imaging's Ikonos. The approach atmospherically corrects the ETM+ data to derive surface reflectance for a 1 km × 1 km area of the playa and then uses these reflectances to determine a hyperspectral at-sensor radiance for each of the sensors taking into account the changes in solar zenith angle due to any temporal differences in the overpass times as well as differences in the view angles between the sensors. Results show that all of the sensors agree with ETM+ to within 10% in the solar reflective for bands not affected by atmospheric absorption. ETM+, MODIS, and ALI agree in all bands to better than 4.4% with better agreement in the visible and near infrared. Poorer agreement between Hyperion and other sensors appears to be due partially to poorer signal to noise ratio in the narrowband Hyperion datasets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1180-1188
Number of pages9
JournalIEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing
Issue number6 PART I
StatePublished - Jun 2003


  • Absolute-radiometric calibration
  • Atmospheric correction
  • Vicarious calibration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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