Project Director

Hossain, A. K. M. Azad

Department Examiner

Mies, Jonathan W.; Shirmeen, Tahmina


Dept. of Geology


University of Tennessee at Chattanooga

Place of Publication

Chattanooga (Tenn.)


In recent years, Hamilton County, TN has experienced extensive urban growth. According to US Census data, Hamilton County welcomed more than 33,000 new residents in the last decade. There is increased concern about the environmental sustainability of Chattanooga’s urban growth because significant impervious surface development has taken place along the South Chickamauga Creek. This leaves the creek subject to increased urban runoff, which often carries sediments with different municipal pollutants. Thus, monitoring turbidity in the stream water is important to determine the sustainability of urban development in Chattanooga, TN. In this research, we have compared the viability of using different satellite sensors to remotely study qualitative suspended sediment concentrations in the lower South Chickamauga Creek by calculating Normalized Difference Suspended Sediment Index (NDSSI) using Landsat 8, Sentinel – 2, and PlanetScope images. While both Landsat and Sentinel – 2 images have been used successfully to calculate NDSSI, PlanetScope has not yet been tested. PlanetScope’s very high spatial resolution makes it potentially very useful in analyzing water quality parameters in narrow creeks such as the South Chickamauga Creek. When comparing a limited number of in situ total suspended solids (TSS) measurements to the NDSSI values derived from each satellite images, it was found that PlanetScope imagery can be used to study qualitative suspended sediment concentration within reasonable accuracy.


First, I would like to thank Dr. Azad Hossain for encouraging me to take up this research, and for teaching me all I know about remote sensing and its endless applications. I could not have completed this research and thesis without his tireless help and encouragement. The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga’s Interdisciplinary Geospatial Technology Lab was extremely helpful in providing the software licenses for ERDAS Imagine as well as making this technology available to me prior to the completion of my own desktop computer. I would also like to thank NASA and USGS, Copernicus, and PlanetLabs for providing Landsat 8, Sentinel-2, and PlanetScope images, respectively at free of cost for this research. Next, I would like to mention the Honor's College. Three years ago, I would never have thought I could put so much hard work into a project. Joining the Innovations in Honors program completely changed the trajectory of my academic journey. Braxton Analazon deserves much praise, as he took hours of his time to show me around Geological and Environmental Remote Sensing Laboratory (GERS-Lab) at the Department of Biology, Geology, and Environmental Science (BGE) and to walk me through calculating water quality in the lab. Lastly, I give my sincerest appreciation to Dr. Mies and Professor Shirmeen for their time and assistance in this project. Completing this research has been no small feat and would not be possible without the cooperation and expertise of all the faculty at BGE.


B. S.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Science.




Remote sensing; Water quality


United States--Tennessee--Hamilton County--Chickamauga Creek


remote sensing; GIS; water quality; South Chickamauga Creek; NDSSI


Environmental Monitoring

Document Type



v, 69 leaves