Remote Sensing and Image Analysis

Remote Sensing and Image Analysis

144 Book reviews the main natural hazards derived from the morphodynamics of each climatic zone, as well as from the environmental changes caused by...

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Book reviews

the main natural hazards derived from the morphodynamics of each climatic zone, as well as from the environmental changes caused by climate changes occurring within each climatic zone. Additionally, these practical chapters review the main geotechnical problems caused by natural and human-induced processes, which may have detrimental effects on engineering works. Among the different sections of the book, the Arid Zone Geomorphology is specially enhanced. Theoretical, applied and derived aspects of this thematic branch receive an exhaustive analysis, covering 40% of the book (242 pages of a total of 617). This part of the book includes varied interesting aspects like weathering processes, desert surfaces and edafic activity, the work of water and wind, slope evolution, genesis and development of piedmonts (alluvial fans and ‘‘glacis’’, with an interesting review of terminological problems); desert lakes, etc., as well as an specific chapter on applied geomorphology in Arid zones. The last section of the book (eighth part), devoted to the Climatic Change and its impact on the geomorphologic record (with close to 100 pages) is of special interest. This section starts with an introduction to the relationships among Global climate change, environmental changes and their probable impact in the future climate of the Earth. The different chapters comprised in this section analyse the specific problems on glacial, periglacial, arid, and tropical zones. In all these chapters the available paleoclimatic record and the most significant geomorphic evidence of climatic change are listed and described. This information comes mainly from the evolutionary analysis of a wide variety of landforms and the resulting landscapes (i.e. glacier retreat, slope evolution, paleolakes, dune systems and paleo-weathering). In summary, this is a commendable book that innovatively sums up the theoretical and practical advances about Climatic Geomorphology and Climate Change achieved during the last decades. The book, written in Spanish, will be especially useful for under- and postgraduate students of any geosciences discipline (Geology, Physical Geography, and Earth and Environmental Sciences) in all the Spanish and Latin-American universities. It will also be a valuable guide for all those researches and professionals interested in the climate and climate change impact on

landscape evolution over different temporal and spatial scales. Pablo G. Silva * Dept. de Geologı´a, Universidad de Salamanca, Escuela Polite´c. Sup. de A´vila, C/Sto. Toma´s, s/n, 05003 Avila, Spain E-mail address: [email protected] *

Member of the Geomorphology editorial board.

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Remote Sensing and Image Analysis 4th Edition. T.M. Lillesand and R.W. Kiefer. John Wiley and Sons, New York, 2000. 736 pp. ISBN: 0471255157 Twenty-three years have passed since authors Lillesand and Kiefer began writing the first edition of Remote Sensing and Image Analysis. Unarguably, techniques of remote sensing and image analysis have changed dramatically over that period. The fourth edition emphasizes that while hardware, software, and spatial data availability continue to evolve, the foundations and general principals of remote sensing and image analysis remain unchanged. The authors create a contemporary text through introducing and/or expanding upon technologies such as lidar, digital cameras, hyperspectral analysis and sensing, yet do not neglect emphasis of basic concepts of remote sensing systems, analog photography and photogrammetry. By presenting an elegant, non-quantitative introduction to remote sensing, Lillesand and Kiefer remind researchers and students not to lose sight of their research objectives in the enticing and extravagant abilities of modern technologies. Rather, the authors accentuate that the main objective of image analysis and remote sensing is now as it always has been: to extract meaningful and useful information from earth data for use in decision-making processes and research. Doing so requires corroborating remotely sensed data with subject matter expertise and comparison with in situ data. The authors designed this book primarily as a textbook for introductory remote sensing courses and as a reference manual for practitioners. By pro-

Book reviews

viding a comprehensive treatment of both ‘‘classical’’ and modern remote sensing principles, the authors achieve their goal by creating a text appropriate for a variety of classroom settings. Although there is an emphasis on environmental and earth surface applications of remote sensing, this book addresses multiple uses of remote sensing and image analysis that are applicable across disciplines. The fourth edition offers twenty-five colored plates with detailed captions and more black and white photographs and illustrations than the previous editions. The book places heavy emphasis on sensing systems, and consequently, its organization follows a progression from simple sensing systems, such as photographic remote sensing, to more complex systems, such as multispectral and thermal sensing. Like most remote sensing texts, Remote Sensing and Image Analysis does not have a software-specific approach, but touches on the basic concepts of remote sensing and image analysis so that reading this text may form a sound foundation for image analysis done with software of choice. The authors opt to leave out details on the statistics of image analysis and choose to focus instead on the descriptions of the applications. In this regard, Remote Sensing and Image Analysis is not a how-to-do-it book. However, Lillesand and Kiefer’s approach to the concepts covered in this book will enable the researcher or student to formulate questions appropriate to answer with remote sensing, select data and sensors suitable for their research, understand the limitations of image analysis, and begin an undertaking of image analysis. Chapters one through three focus primarily on photographic remote sensing, including detailed descriptions of photogrammetric measurements, aerial photographs, an early history of aerial photography, films, and applications of air photo interpretation. Particularly noteworthy is the comprehensive discussion on the basic principles underlying remote sensing, such as the electromagnetic spectrum and energy sources for remote sensing treated in chapter one. Chapter four emphasizes applications of image interpretation in a variety of disciplines, particularly in surface landform identification and in other physical earth science applications. Discussion on the collection and interpretation of multispectral and thermal data follows in subsequent chapters five and six. Basic principles of digital image analysis, such as image


rectification, contrast manipulation, and classification, are introduced in chapter seven. The authors treat image analysis generally, without detailed mathematics. Photographic examples showing the outcome of several geometric correction algorithms are particularly useful, and highlight the importance of carefully selecting the appropriate correction algorithms for accurate results. Finally, chapter eight discusses microwave sensing, including lidar, side looking radar and synthetic aperture radar. Overall, the treatment of remotely sensed image analysis is placed within the context of peripheral technologies such as geographic information systems, because rarely do researchers use images in isolation. Limitations of this text for use both by the general audience and for geomorphologists in particular include the following. Lack of a glossary is extremely disadvantageous for a broad and technical text designed for educational and reference purposes. Additionally, previous editions of the text (primarily the second edition) included the identification and evaluation of bedrock, transported soils types, aeolian landforms, fluvial landforms and glacial landforms. The fourth edition, however, excludes these sections on the principles of landform identification and evaluation that would be of potential interest to geomorphologists. Despite this exclusion, chapter four’s coverage on the identification and evaluation of principal terrain characteristics, such as bedrock, soil textures, and site drainage conditions, which may be estimated and quantified through image interpretation, is noteworthy. Furthermore, selected bibliographies at the terminus of each chapter provide outlets for seeking subject-specific information. Remote Sensing and Image Analysis, fourth edition, provides an excellent summary on a multitude of aspects essential to remote sensing and image interpretation. Because of the broad and non-quantitative treatment of the material, a primary use for this text might be for researchers who want to understand potential applications of remote sensing in their respective disciplines. A thorough understanding of sensors and types of questions that may be answered from various sensor’s data may also be gained, as well as a solid foundation in the basic principles of remote sensing and image interpretation. Furthermore, perusing this book will enable students and professionals to realize potentials of remote sensing technologies in


Book reviews

their research and in understanding earth systems in general. Lynn M. Resler Department of Geography, Southwest Texas State University, San Marcos, TX 78666-4616 USA E-mail address: [email protected] PII: S 0 1 6 9 - 5 5 5 X ( 0 1 ) 0 0 1 6 4 - 7

George Perkins Marsh: Profit of Conservation David Lowenthal, University of Washington Press, Seattle, USA, 2000, Hardbound, 605 pp. Price US $40.00, ISBN 0-295-97942-9 I don’t think that I’m alone in saying that somewhere in my schooling I learned that George Perkins Marsh wrote Man and Nature in the middle of the nineteenth century and that it had a major impact on conservation thinking. However, that’s about all I knew about Marsh or Man and Nature. I’m delighted to say that I now know more about both the man and his book, thanks to David Lowenthal. Lowenthal has written his second biography of Marsh. The first, George Perkins Marsh: Versatile Vermonter (1958), was due for replacement not only for the awkward title, but because much new source material was available to Lowenthal. George Perkins Marsh: Profit of Conservation is thoroughly researched, well written and a pleasure to read. I heartily recommend it to geomorphologists, hydrologists and anyone interested in environmental issues and history. Marsh was a lawyer and businessman, though not very successful at either, and a member of Congress and diplomat. In the latter position, he served in Turkey and Italy. In his spare time, he was a scholar, distinguishing himself as a linguist, geographer and historian. Man and Nature, first published in 1864, grew out of the latter two interests. Before the book, many knew that people affect the natural world, as in forest clearing and swamp draining, but few saw any negative repercussions of these actions. Marsh showed that not only is environmental damage serious and widespread, but it also threatens the well being of future generations.

But why is Man and Nature an important book for geomorphologists and hydrologists? The book begins with a discussion of land degradation around the Mediterranean resulting from land use practices during Roman times. Marsh shows keen ecological insight in the second chapter on plants and animals. In Chapter 3, Marsh builds on his lifelong interest in the effects of deforestation in his home state of Vermont and discusses how tree removal leads to increased soil erosion, modifies stream flow and affects fish populations. Watershed protection, he explains, can have many practical benefits. The effects of large-scale engineering works on rivers and harbors is the subject of Chapter 4, and sand and sand dunes are discussed in Chapter 5. As an aeolian geomorphologist, I’m embarrassed at how ignorant I was of nineteenth century knowledge on the impacts of blowing sand and the role of vegetation in controlling it. The final chapter is on the potential impacts of very large engineering works, such as the Suez Canal. Marsh explains that many unexpected consequences of these works will occur. Many of the bits and pieces of information in the book were known, but Marsh was the first to put them all together to show the extensive human impact on the environment. Man and Nature had a profound effect on policies related to natural resources in the US and elsewhere. The book is not particularly easy to read— Marsh has a convoluted writing style—but it is well worth perusing for the insight it contains. Jeffrey A. Lee Department of Economics and Geography, Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX 79409-1014, USA E-mail address: [email protected] PII: S 0 1 6 9 - 5 5 5 X ( 0 1 ) 0 0 1 6 5 - 9

The Ice Finders: How a Poet, a Professor, and a Politician Discovered the Ice Age Edmund Blair Bolles, Counterpoint, Washington, DC, USA, 1999, Paperback, 257 pp. Price US$13.00, ISBN 1-58243-101-9 This is not an academic book review, but a mention of a delightful book that should be of interest to many