HyperSpectral Imagery (HSI) of the coastal zone often focuses on the estimation of bathymetry. However, the estimation of bathymetry requires knowledge, or the simultaneous solution, of water column Inherent Optical Properties (IOPs) and bottom reflectance. The numerical solution to the simultaneous set of equations for bathymetry, IOPs, and bottom reflectance places high demands on the spectral quality, calibration, atmospheric correction, and Signal-to-Noise (SNR) of the HSI data stream.
In October of 2002, a joint FERI/NRL/NAVO/USACE HSI/LIDAR experiment was conducted off of Looe Key, FL. This experiment yielded high quality HSI data at a 2 m resolution and bathymetric LIDAR data at a 4 m resolution. The joint data set allowed for the advancement and validation of a previously generated Look-Up-Table (LUT) approach to the simultaneous retrieval of bathymetry, IOPs, and bottom type. Bathymetric differences between the two techniques were normally distributed around a 0 mean, with the exception of two peaks. One peak related to a mechanical problem in the LIDAR detector mirrors that causes errors on the edges of the LIDAR flight lines. The other significant difference occurred in a single geographic area (Hawk Channel) suggesting an incomplete IOP or bottom reflectance description in the LUT data base. In addition, benthic habitat data from NOAA’s National Ocean Service (NOS) and the Florida Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI) provided validation data for the estimation of bottom type. Preliminary analyses of the bottom type estimation suggest that the best retrievals are for seagrass bottoms. One source of the potential difficulties may be that the LUT database was generated from a more pristine location (Lee Stocking Island, Bahamas). It is expected that fusing the HSI/LIDAR data streams should reduce the errors in bottom typing and IOP estimation.