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A Study on Information Extraction of Water Body with the Modified Normalized Difference Water Index (MNDWI)

XU Han-qiu (College of Environment and Resources, Fuzhou University, Fuzhou 350002, China)  
A modified normalized difference water index(MNDWI) has been proposed in this paper based on the normalized difference water index(NDWI) of Mcfeeters (1966), which uses MIR(TM5) instead of NIR(TM4) to construct the MNDWI. The MNDWI has been tested in the ocean, lake and river areas with the background of built-up lands and/or vegetated lands, and with both clean and polluted water bodies using Landsat TM/ETM+ imagery. This reveals that the MNDWI can significantly enhance the water information, especially in the area mainly with built-up land as background. The MNDWI can depress the built-up land information effectively while highlighting water information, and accurately extract the water body information from the study areas. While the enhanced water information using the NDWI always has been mixed with built-up land noise and the area of a water body extracted based on the index is thus overestimated. Therefore, the NDWI is not suitable for enhancing and extracting water information in built-up land-dominated areas. Furthermore, the MNDWI can reveal subtle features of water more efficiently than the NDWI or other visible spectral bands do due largely to its wider dynamic data range. The application of the MNDWI in the Xiamen image has achieved an excellent result. The MNDWI image successfully reveals significant non-point pollution of the water surrounding the Xiamen Island due to agricultural activities. In addition, taking the advantage of the ratio computation, the MNDWI can remove shadow noise from water information without using sophisticated procedures, which is otherwise difficult to be removed.
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