Remote Sens. 2011, 3(12), 2605-2629; doi:10.3390/rs3122605
Article

The Importance of Accounting for Atmospheric Effects in the Application of NDVI and Interpretation of Satellite Imagery Supporting Archaeological Research: The Case Studies of Palaepaphos and Nea Paphos Sites in Cyprus

1 Department of Civil Engineering and Geomatics, Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Cyprus University of Technology, 2-6, Saripolou Str., 3603 Limassol, Cyprus 2 Agricultural Research Institute, Ministry of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Environment, 1516 Nicosia, Cyprus
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 20 September 2011; in revised form: 14 November 2011 / Accepted: 15 November 2011 / Published: 2 December 2011
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Abstract: This paper presents the findings of the impact of atmospheric effects when applied on satellite images intended for supporting archaeological research. The study used eleven multispectral Landsat TM/ETM+ images from 2009 until 2010, acquired over archaeological and agricultural areas. The modified Darkest Pixel (DP) atmospheric correction algorithm was applied, as it is considered one of the most simple and effective atmospheric corrections algorithm. The NDVI equation was applied and its values were evaluated before and after the application of atmospheric correction to satellite images, to estimate its possible effects. The results highlighted that atmospheric correction has a significant impact on the NDVI values. This was especially true in seasons where the vegetation has grown. Although the absolute impact on NDVI, after applying the DP, was small (0.06), it was considered important if multi-temporal time series images need to be evaluated and cross-compared. The NDVI differences, before and after atmospheric correction, were assessed using student’s t-test and the statistical differences were found to be significant. It was shown that relative NDVI difference can be as much as 50%, if atmosphere effects are ignored. Finally, the results had proven that atmospheric corrections can enhance the interpretation of satellite images (especially in cases where optical thickness of water vapour is minimized ≈ 0). This fact can assist in the detection and identification of archaeological crop marks. Therefore, removal of atmospheric effects, for archaeological purposes, was found to be of great importance in improving the image enhancement and NDVI values.
Keywords: atmospheric correction; modified darkest pixel algorithm; crop marks; vegetation indices

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MDPI and ACS Style

Agapiou, A.; Hadjimitsis, D.G.; Papoutsa, C.; Alexakis, D.D.; Papadavid, G. The Importance of Accounting for Atmospheric Effects in the Application of NDVI and Interpretation of Satellite Imagery Supporting Archaeological Research: The Case Studies of Palaepaphos and Nea Paphos Sites in Cyprus. Remote Sens. 2011, 3, 2605-2629.

AMA Style

Agapiou A, Hadjimitsis DG, Papoutsa C, Alexakis DD, Papadavid G. The Importance of Accounting for Atmospheric Effects in the Application of NDVI and Interpretation of Satellite Imagery Supporting Archaeological Research: The Case Studies of Palaepaphos and Nea Paphos Sites in Cyprus. Remote Sensing. 2011; 3(12):2605-2629.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Agapiou, Athos; Hadjimitsis, Diofantos G.; Papoutsa, Christiana; Alexakis, Dimitrios D.; Papadavid, George. 2011. "The Importance of Accounting for Atmospheric Effects in the Application of NDVI and Interpretation of Satellite Imagery Supporting Archaeological Research: The Case Studies of Palaepaphos and Nea Paphos Sites in Cyprus." Remote Sens. 3, no. 12: 2605-2629.

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