Fractal geometry is increasingly becoming a useful tool for modeling natural phenomenon. As an alternative to Euclidean concepts, fractals allow for a more accurate representation of the nature of complexity in natural boundaries and surfaces. Since they are characterized by self-similarity, an ideal fractal surface is scale-independent; i.e. at different scales a fractal surface looks the same. This is not exactly true for natural surfaces. When viewed at different spatial resolutions parts of natural surfaces look alike in a statistical manner and only for a limited range of scales. Images acquired by NASA's Thermal Infrared Multispectral Scanner are used to compute the fractal dimension as a function of spatial resolution. Three methods are used to determine the fractal dimension - Schelberg's line-divider method, the variogram method, and the triangular prism method. A description of these methods and the results of applying these methods to a remotely-sensed image is also presented. Five flights were flown in succession at altitudes of 2 km (low), 6 km (mid), 12 km (high), and then back again at 6 km and 2 km. The area selected was the Ross Barnett reservoir near Jackson, Mississippi. The mission was flown during the predawn hours of 1 Feb. 1992. Radiosonde data was collected for that duration to profile the characteristics of the atmosphere. This corresponds to 3 different pixel sizes - 5m, 15m, and 30m. After, simulating different spatial sampling intervals within the same image for each of the 3 image sets, the results are cross-correlated to compare the extent of detail and complexity that is obtained when data is taken at lower spatial intervals.
EARTH RESOURCES AND REMOTE SENSING
JPL, Summaries of the Third Annual JPL Airborne Geoscience Workshop. Volume 2: TIMS Workshop; p 25-27