Environmental change detection in the central part of Iraq using remote sensing data and GIS


This study aims to assess the potential of several ancillary input data for the improvement of unsupervised land cover change detection in arid environments. The study area is located in Central Iraq where desertification has been observed. We develop a new scheme based on known robust indices. We employ Landsat (multispectral scanner, thematic mapper, and enhanced thematic mapper) satellite data acquired in 1976, 1990, and 2002. We use the Normalized Deferential Vegetation Index, Normalized Differential Water Index (NDWI), Salinity Index (SI), and Eolian Mapping Index. Two new equations were applied for the SI and the NDWI indices. Validation was performed using ground truth data collected in 16 days. We show that such an approach allows a robust and low-cost alternative for preliminary and large-scale assessments. This study shows that desertification has increased in the study area since 1990.

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Correspondence to Arsalan A. Othman.

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Othman, A.A., Al-Saady, Y.I., Al-Khafaji, A.K. et al. Environmental change detection in the central part of Iraq using remote sensing data and GIS. Arab J Geosci 7, 1017–1028 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12517-013-0870-0

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  • Iraq
  • Remote sensing
  • Changes detection
  • NDVI
  • NDWI
  • SI
  • EMI
  • MSS
  • TM
  • ETM
  • Land cover