Surficial failures or slides in the levees along the Mississippi River have been recorded since 1964. The current method of detecting these slides involves a physical survey that is neither time nor cost efficient. This research was designed to evaluate the potential of commercially available high-resolution multispectral and hyperspectral imagery as a tool to detect levee slides. QuickBird, IKONOS, and CASI II imagery were used to evaluate a 20-mi (32-km) levee reach near Gunnison in Bolivar County, Mississippi. Field investigations were combined with image processing techniques including pan-sharpening, ISODATA clustering, Spectral Angle Mapper classification, and Tasseled Cap transformation. Field observations and processing of both multispectral and hyperspectral imagery suggest that it is possible to detect slides by the nature of the vegetation and land use in the slide area. Certain types of plants were found in slide-affected areas and appear to be a good indicator of slides in the field and in imagery. QuickBird and IKONOS imagery are both suitable for detecting slides by visual inspection and for monitoring recorded slides. Hyperspectral CASI II imagery can be used to identify slide indicative vegetation. Soil Brightness Index and Greenness Index obtained from a Tasseled Cap transformed IKONOS imagery was used to develop a slide detection model. The slide detection model did not determine the exact location of all slides but was able to narrow the search area for slides.

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