Keywords: ASTER, environmental assessment, environmental monitoring, remote sensing, strip mining
Assessing the applicability of satellite imagery for environmental monitoring and regulatory compliance assessment
Earth observational satellites have contributed to a better understanding of environmental processes and the nature of human-induced environmental change. With the launch of the first Earth Observing System (EOS) satellite, Terra (formerly AM-1) and Landsat 7, two powerful tools exist that can be applied in the continuing study of human–environmental interactions. However, as with any tool, there is a need to identify where and how it can be best applied. In this paper, data acquired from Landsat 7 and the ASTER instrument deployed on the Terra satellite were used to identify and map surface characteristics indicative of strip mining and its environmental effects. Focused on Southeastern Ohio, this study compared the degree to which data products derived from these sensors can be used to characterise mining environments and provide useful resource management information. Based on the results of this comparative study, the relative merits of these two instruments can be better ascertained, enhancing their future application in environmental assessment and monitoring at regional scales.