Indian Forum for Water Adroit

Detecting, extracting and monitoring surface water from space using optical sensors — a review

Pankaj Dey

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  • Institute : Indian Institute of Science
  • Programming language : MATLAB, R
Observing surface water is essential for ecological and hydrological studies. This paper reviews the current status of detecting, extracting and monitoring surface water using optical remote sensing, especially progress in the last decade. It also discusses the current status and challenges in this field. For example, it was found that pixel unmixing and reconstruction, and spatio‐temporal fusion are two common and low‐cost approaches to enhance surface water monitoring. Remote sensing data have been integrated with in situ river flow to model spatio‐temporal dynamics of surface water. Recent studies have also proved that the river discharge can be estimated using only optical remote sensing imagery. This will be a breakthrough for hydrological studies in ungauged areas. Optical sensors are also easily obscured by clouds and vegetation. This limitation can be reduced by integrating optical data with Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data and Digital Elevation Model (DEM) data. There is increasing demand of monitoring global water dynamics at high resolutions. It is now easy to achieve with the development of big data and cloud computation techniques. Enhanced global or regional water monitoring in the future requires integrated use of multiple sources of remote sensing data.