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Water 2017, 9(4), 256; doi:10.3390/w9040256

Open Surface Water Mapping Algorithms: A Comparison of Water-Related Spectral Indices and Sensors

1
School of Earth Sciences and Resources, China University of Geosciences, Beijing 100083, China
2
Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
3
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
4
Department of Microbiology and Plant Biology, Center for Spatial Analysis, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK 73019, USA
5
Satellite Environment Center, Ministry of Environmental Protection, Beijing 100094, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Y. Jun Xu
Received: 5 January 2017 / Revised: 19 March 2017 / Accepted: 1 April 2017 / Published: 5 April 2017
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Abstract

Open surface water bodies play an important role in agricultural and industrial production, and are susceptible to climate change and human activities. Remote sensing data has been increasingly used to map open surface water bodies at local, regional, and global scales. In addition to image statistics-based supervised and unsupervised classifiers, spectral index- and threshold-based approaches have also been widely used. Many water indices have been proposed to identify surface water bodies; however, the differences in performances of these water indices as well as different sensors on water body mapping are not well documented. In this study, we reviewed and compared existing open surface water body mapping approaches based on six widely-used water indices, including the tasseled cap wetness index (TCW), normalized difference water index (NDWI), modified normalized difference water index (mNDWI), sum of near infrared and two shortwave infrared bands (Sum457), automated water extraction index (AWEI), land surface water index (LSWI), as well as three medium resolution sensors (Landsat 7 ETM+, Landsat 8 OLI, and Sentinel-2 MSI). A case region in the Poyang Lake Basin, China, was selected to examine the accuracies of the open surface water body maps from the 27 combinations of different algorithms and sensors. The results showed that generally all the algorithms had reasonably high accuracies with Kappa Coefficients ranging from 0.77 to 0.92. The NDWI-based algorithms performed slightly better than the algorithms based on other water indices in the study area, which could be related to the pure water body dominance in the region, while the sensitivities of water indices could differ for various water body conditions. The resultant maps from Landsat 8 and Sentinel-2 data had higher overall accuracies than those from Landsat 7. Specifically, all three sensors had similar producer accuracies while Landsat 7 based results had a lower user accuracy. This study demonstrates the improved performance in Landsat 8 and Sentinel-2 for open surface water body mapping efforts. View Full-Text
Keywords: open surface water body mapping; water indices; Sentinel-2; Landsat 8; Landsat 7; comparison open surface water body mapping; water indices; Sentinel-2; Landsat 8; Landsat 7; comparison
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Zhou, Y.; Dong, J.; Xiao, X.; Xiao, T.; Yang, Z.; Zhao, G.; Zou, Z.; Qin, Y. Open Surface Water Mapping Algorithms: A Comparison of Water-Related Spectral Indices and Sensors. Water 2017, 9, 256.

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