Impervious surfaces have been identified as an important and quantifiable indicator of environmental degradation in urban settings. A number of research efforts have been directed at mapping impervious surface type using multispectral imagery. To date, however, no studies have compared equivalent techniques using multispectral and hyperspectral imagery to that end. In this study, data from NASA's 220-channel Hyperion instrument were used to: a) delineate three types of impervious surface, and b) map sub-pixel percent abundance for a study site near Washington, D.C., USA. The results were compared with the results of similar methods using same-spatial-resolution Landsat ETM+ data for mapping impervious surface type, and with the results of the U.S. Geological Survey's National Land Cover Data (NLCD) 2001 impervious surface data layer, which is derived from Landsat and high-resolution Ikonos data. The accuracy of discriminating impervious surface type using Hyperion data was assessed at 88% versus Landsat at 59%. The sub-pixel percent impervious map corresponded well with the NLCD 2001; impervious surface in the study area was calculated at 29.3% for NLCD 2001 and 28.4% for the Hyperion-derived layer. The results suggest that fairly simple techniques using hyperspectral data are effective for quantifying impervious surface type, and that high-spectral- resolution imagery may be a good alternative to high-spatial-resolution data.
Additional publication details
Mapping impervious surface type and sub-pixel abundance using hyperion hyperspectral imagery