Servizio Comunitario di Informazione in materia di Ricerca e Sviluppo - CORDIS

Application of digital camera data for glacier mapping

The use of digital camera imagery provides a new potential for acquisition of low-cost very high-resolution remote sensing data over glaciers operationally. The camera type needed is a low cost camera true or false colour digital camera, which are inexpensive compared to metric analogue or digital cameras. With data acquisition and navigation hardware and software the target areas can be monitored periodically if weather conditions allow. The current software enables fast and accurate enough modelling of the terrain topography and construction of digital image mosaic.

There are two analysis types for the created mosaics. Visual classification can be used for classification the glacier into ice, firn or snow classes and delineation of the glacier borders and mapping of crevasses. The glacier surface can also be classified by digital classification or segmentation. So far visual interpretation is considered to be the most accurate method.

The disadvantage of the methodology is brightness variations within the mosaic caused by light falloff, BRDF and topographic effect decreasing the quality. Due to the forward scattering characteristics of snow and firn surface the BRDF correction algorithms developed for backscattering land surfaces do not work satisfactorily. In this project, the algorithm was modified for snow and firn surfaces and the results were satisfactory.

The results will be utilized in further glacier monitoring research projects and also in teaching at the universities. The method can also be used as mapping method of forests, land use or urban areas only to mention but a few.

Reported by

University of Turku
Department of Geography
20014 Turku
See on map