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Pixel block intensity modulation: adding spatial detail to TM band 6 thermal imagery

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A pixel block intensity modulation (PRIM) method has been developed to add spatial detail to Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) thermal band TM6 images in regions with sufficient topography. The method uses 30 m resolution TM reflective spectral band images (TM1-5 and 7) to modulate the relevant TM6 image on the basis of its 120m resolution thermal pixel blocks. Topographic detail in each 120m resolution pixel block of the TM6 image is thus recovered, without altering the average thermal digital number level of the block, by the spatial information recorded in the reflective spectral bands at 30m resolution. Tests confirm that the PBIM can effectively integrate topographic spatial detail from reflective spectral bands with TM6 images while retaining the fidelity of the original thermal spectral information. PBIM is also applicable, as a general method, for data fusion of multispectral and panchromatic images with different spatial resolutions. Bearing in mind that, for space-borne remote sensing, the spatial resolution of the thermal band will continue to be lower than that of VISSWIR and panchromatic bands in the multispectral sensor systems of the next generation, such as Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus, the PBIM method will remain a useful technique for enhancing thermal imagery data for some time.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: September 10, 1998

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