There are several data fusion methods widely used to produce a high resolution multi-spectral image from a pair of images – a panchromatic high resolution and a multi-spectral lower resolution image. Although the fused images can be visually satisfactory, it is not clear whether they provide additional information for quantitative measurements made from satellite images. A methodology to evaluate data fusion algorithms is proposed, based on the production of synthetic images that reproduce real satellite images. An experiment was conducted testing the performance of six data fusion methods in the production of NDVI values for land parcels from SPOT HRG and Landsat TM data. The fusion methods evaluated were: Brovey, IHS Hex-cone, IHS Cylinder, PCA, Wavelet IHS and Wavelet Single Band. The best data fusion method overall was found to be Wavelet IHS, although better results were obtained by using directly the lower resolution multi-spectral data instead. The software tools developed and a number of test images datasets are freely available at the SITEF website (www.fc.up.pt/sitef).
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