US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Remote Sensing of Environment 123 (2012) 41–56; doi:10.1016/j.rse.2012.03.002


Considerable interest has been given to forming an international collaboration to develop a virtual moderate spatial resolution land observation constellation through aggregation of data sets from comparable national observatories such as the US Landsat, the Indian ResourceSat and related systems. This study explores the complementarity of India's ResourceSat-1 Advanced Wide Field Sensor (AWiFS) with the Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper (TM) and Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+). The analysis focuses on the comparative radiometry, geometry, and spectral properties of the two sensors. Two applied assessments of these data are also explored to examine the strengths and limitations of these alternate sources of moderate resolution land imagery with specific application domains. There are significant technical differences in these imaging systems including spectral band response, pixel dimensions, swath width, and radiometric resolution which produce differences in observation data sets. None of these differences was found to strongly limit comparable analyses in agricultural and forestry applications. Overall, we found that the AWiFS and Landsat TM/ETM+ imagery are comparable and in some ways complementary, particularly with respect to temporal repeat frequency. We have found that there are limits to our understanding of the AWiFS performance, for example, multi-camera design and stability of radiometric calibration over time, that leave some uncertainty that has been better addressed for Landsat through the Image Assessment System and related cross-sensor calibration studies. Such work still needs to be undertaken for AWiFS and similar observatories that may play roles in the Global Earth Observation System of Systems Land Surface Imaging Constellation.