Bathymetry and water column correction
at Lee Stocking Island, Bahamas
Image courtesy of the U.S. Geological Survey
7671*7841 30 m pixel size, UTM zone 18

Using the Panchromatic band for water column correction
to derive water depth and spectral bottom signature:

Landsat 8 OLIP bandset used for this work
Purple=1Blue=2Green=3PAN=4Red=5NIR=6 and SWIR1=7


1 - NO NEED for field data, nor for atmospheric correction
2 - this is demonstrated in this website, using a variety of hyper/multi spectral data
Requirements are
1 - homogeneous water body and atmosphere
2 - some coverage of optically deep water
3 - some coverage of dry land
Problems are
1 - the precision on estimated depth is found wanting, because the noise-equivalent change in radiance  of accessible data is too high for shallow water column correction work 
2 - radiance data should be preprocessed by the provider at level 1 in order to improve S/N ratio
3 - exponential decay: the deeper/darker the bottom, the poorer the performances
I keep digging
until suitable data
become available

scene LC80120442013314LGN00, Nov 10th 2013
Work done october 2016

Robustness: Winter is the time of choice
As I don't have seatruth data, apart from the above speaker_harris_fig_01.png,
I used results obtained on
lsiOLI_20140129 as a seatruth DTM
The result is astounding,
knowing that part of the fuzziness is caused by slight misregistration of the PAN band.
No smoothing applied
Nov_10th 2013    vs   Jan 29th 2014
This is a test of the robustness of 4SM

Jan 29th 2014 - Nov_10th 2013
Winter is the time of choice 
Three specific sources of discrepancies must be considered
  • Cloud shadows: they cause over-estimation of retrieved depths. I could not find a way to avoid it.
  • Misregistration: the 30 m re-sampled PAN band is misregistrated by one pixel in both row and line. This causes fuzziness, and overestimated depths on occasion.
  • Spatial variation of water optical properties: they cause local over -or under- estimation of retrieved depth
The results are much more robust than I expected!
I intend to produce
a Combined Depth raster
 out of all these results.

Data and Deglinting

TOA TCC: raw image

BOA TCC deglinted image

16U data are scaled to allow for comfortable screen display

Calibration diagram for the whole scene
for bands Blue, Green, Red and NIR


Calibration diagram for the whole scene
for bands Coastal, PAN, Red, NIR


Ready for modeling
No Smoothing

BOA TCC: water column corrected

Retrieved depth
see legend


Bottom typing

SAM classified image
see legend for SAM

Average bottom brightness