A comparison of Landsat 8, RapidEye and Pleiades products for improving empirical predictions of satellite-derived bathymetry

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Conor Cahalane, Aidan Magee, Xavier Monteys, Gema Casal, Jennifer A. Hanafin, P. Harris (2019) A comparison of Landsat 8, RapidEye and Pleiades products for improving empirical predictions of satellite-derived bathymetry, Remote Sensing of Environment, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.rse.2019.111414


Satellite derived bathymetry (SDB) enables rapid mapping of large coastal areas through measurement of optical penetration of the water column. The resolution of bathymetric mapping and achievable horizontal and vertical accuracies vary but generally, all SDB outputs are constrained by sensor type, water quality and other environmental conditions. Efforts to improve accuracy include physics-based methods (similar to radiative transfer models e.g. for atmospheric/vegetation studies) or detailed in-situ sampling of the seabed and water column, but the spatial component of SDB measurements is often under-utilised in SDB workflows despite promising results suggesting potential to improve accuracy significantly. In this study, a selection of satellite datasets (Landsat 8, RapidEye and Pleiades) at different spatial and spectral resolutions were tested using a log ratio transform to derive bathymetry in an Atlantic coastal embayment. A series of non-spatial and spatial linear analyses were then conducted and their influence on SDB prediction accuracy was assessed in addition to the significance of each model's parameters. Landsat 8 (30 m pixel size) performed relatively weak with the non-spatial model, but showed the best results with the spatial model. However, the highest spatial resolution imagery used – Pleiades (2 m pixel size) showed good results across both non-spatial and spatial models which suggests a suitability for SDB prediction at a higher spatial resolution than the others. In all cases, the spatial models were able to constrain the prediction differences at increased water depths.