SMEX03 Landsat Thematic Mapper NDVI and NDWI: Oklahoma


This Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and Normalized Difference Water Index (NDWI) data set was developed from Landsat 5 Thematic Mapper (TM) data for use in studying land cover features during the Soil Moisture Experiment 2003 (SMEX03).

Citing These Data

As a condition of using these data, you must cite the use of this data set using the following citation. For more information, see our Use and Copyright Web page.

Jackson, T. and M. Cosh. 2008. SMEX03 Landsat Thematic Mapper NDVI and NDWI: Oklahoma. [indicate subset used]. Boulder, Colorado USA: NASA National Snow and Ice Data Center Distributed Active Archive Center. doi: 10.5067/8KJFN9XOV23M.

Overview Table

Category Description
Data format Flat binary data files in 8-bit format (little-endian)

Oklahoma North image: 2800 by 1840
Oklahoma South image: 3600 by 1920
Spatial coverage and resolution Southernmost Latitude: 34.49° N
Northernmost Latitude: 35.39° N
Westernmost Longitude: 98.29° W
Easternmost Longitude: 97.76° W

30 m resolution
Temporal coverage and resolution 10 July 2003

Measurements were made one time for this regional study area.
Tools for accessing data ArcView, ENVI, or other similar software package.
File naming convention mmddyy_ss_iiii.bin
File size 4.9 - 6.6 MB per file
Parameter(s) NDVI
Procedures for obtaining data Data are available via FTP and HTTPS.

Table of Contents

  1. Contacts and Acknowledgments
  2. Detailed Data Description
  3. Data Access and Tools
  4. Data Acquisition and Processing
  5. References and Related Publications
  6. Document Information

1. Contacts and Acknowledgments


Thomas J. Jackson
Michael H. Cosh

USDA ARS Hydrology/Remote Sensing Laboratory
Bldg. 007, Rm. 104, BARC-West
Beltsville, MD 20705 USA

Technical Contact

NSIDC User Services
National Snow and Ice Data Center
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO 80309-0449  USA
phone: +1 303.492.6199
fax: +1 303.492.2468
form: Contact NSIDC User Services


The investigators would like to acknowledge the numerous graduate students and volunteers who collected the field data, in addition to the SMEX03 Science Team and Grazinglands Research Laboratory for their assistance. The investigators would also like to thank NASA for their generous contributions to the study. This work was supported by the NASA Aqua AMSR, Terrestrial Hydrology, and Global Water Cycle Programs.

2. Detailed Data Description

Data were used to create large-scale maps of the NDVI and NDWI for both northern and southern Oklahoma, USA regional study areas in order to accurately estimate the surface soil moisture via microwave remote sensing.


Data are presented in flat, 8-bit little-endian binary data files. Data were scaled in order to maximize the dynamic range. Users must apply Equations 1 and 2 to convert the Digital Number (DN) to NDVI and NDWI values:

NDVI = DN/255 (Equation 1)
NDWI = DN/255-0.5 (Equation 2)

The dimensions of the Oklahoma North image are 2800 rows by 1840 columns, and the dimensions of the Oklahoma South image are 3600 rows by 1920 columns.

File and Directory Structure

Data are on the FTP site in the NDWI_NDVI directory. Four binary files are contained within this directory, as described in Table 1.

Table 1. Files Contained in this Data Set
File Name Description File Size
071003_ON_NDVI.bin Contains NDVI data for the Oklahoma North regional study area for 10 July 2003. 5032 KB
071003_ON_NDWI.bin Contains NDWI data for the Oklahoma North regional study area for 10 July 2003. 5032 KB
071003_OS_NDVI.bin Contains NDVI data for the Oklahoma South regional study area for 10 July 2003. 6750 KB
071003_OS_NDWI.bin Contains NDWI data for the Oklahoma South regional study area for 10 July 2003. 6750 KB


File Naming Convention

Files are named according to the following convention and as described in Table 2:



Table 2. Description of File Name Variables
Variable Description
mm two-digit month
dd two-digit day
yy two-digit year
ss Site (OS = Oklahoma South; ON = Oklahoma North)
iiii Index (NDVI, NDWI)
.bin Indicates that this is a binary data file.

Example: 071003_ON_NDVI.bin

File Size

File sizes range from 4.9 to 6.6 MB.

Spatial Coverage

The data set covers Oklahoma North and South regional study areas:

Southernmost Latitude: 34.49° N
Northernmost Latitude: 35.39° N
Westernmost Longitude: 98.29° W
Easternmost Longitude: 97.76° W

A detailed geographic description of the data set is shown in Table 3. Geolocation coordinates correspond to the center of each corner pixel.

Table 3. Geolocation of the Images
Regional Study Area Image Coordinates
Oklahoma North Northing Easting Latitude Longitude
Upper Left Corner 4081020 N 585790 E 36.87122 -98.037441719
Upper Right Corner 4081020 N 640990 E 36.86460 -97.418273713
Lower Left Corner 3997020 N 585790 E 36.11405 -98.046766559
Lower Right Corner 3997020 N 640990 E 36.10761 -97.433591947
Oklahoma South  
Upper Left Corner 3920100 N 560380 E 35.42248 -98.334881531
Upper Right Corner 3920100 N 617980 E 35.41732 -97.700496383
Lower Left Corner 3812100 N 560380 E 34.44865 -98.342696988
Lower Right Corner 3812100 N 617980 E 34.44367 -97.715762369

Spatial Resolution

All four Landsat NDVI and NDWI data files cover an area with interior dimensions of 30 m by 30 m.


The projection is Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM), Zone 14 with World Geodetic System 1984 (WGS 84) ellipsoid International Terrestrial Reference Frame (ITRF) and Conventional Terrestrial Reference System (CTRS) realization. Projection is in meters.

Temporal Coverage

Data were acquired on 10 July 2003, which is assumed to be a reasonable approximation for the study period.

Parameter or Variable

Parameter Description

The parameters of this data set are NDVI and NDWI. NDVI is the difference between the visible red and near-infrared bands, over their sum. The NDVI is a measure of vegetation amount and condition. It is associated with vegetation canopy characteristics such as biomass, leaf area index, and percentage of vegetation cover. NDVI helps researchers determine the density of vegetation in an area. NDWI divides the difference between the mid-infrared and near-infrared bands by the sum of those two bands, thereby giving a measurement of soil moisture. Refer to Equations 3 and 4.

Parameter Range

In general, the NDVI and NDWI vary between -1 and +1. For this data set, however, the parameter range is 0 to 1 for the NDVI and -0.5 to 0.5 for the NDWI; refer to Equations 1 and 2. Missing values are set to 0.

Parameter Source:

Two TM scenes from Landsat 5 were used to produce this NDVI and NDWI data set. The path rows are a composite of 28/25 and 28/36.

Sample Data Images

Figures 1 and 2 show sample thumbnail images from this data set.

NDVI North Sample Image   NDWI South Sample Image
Figure 1. Oklahoma North NDVI 10 July 2003 Sample Image   Figure 2. Oklahoma South NDWI 10 July 2003 Sample Image

3. Data Access and Tools

Data Access

Data are available via FTP and HTTPS.


The total data volume is approximately 23 MB.

Software and Tools

Tools appropriate for viewing these data are ArcView, ENVI, or other similar software package.

Related Data Collections

4. Data Acquisition and Processing

Sensor or Instrument Description

The TM instrument is a multispectral scanning radiometer carried on Landsats 4 and 5. It has seven spectral bands with a spatial resolution of 30 m for most bands.

Data Source

Data were derived from bands 3 (red), 4 (near-infrared), and 5 (mid-infrared) of the Landsat 5 TM sensor.

Derivation Techniques and Algorithms

NDVI and NDWI calculation

The NDVI and NDWI were computed for each pixel using the following equations (Gao, 1996):

NDVI = ρ(band 4) - ρ(band 3)  

(Equation 3)
ρ(band 4) + ρ(band 3)  


NDWI = ρ(band 4) - ρ(band 5)  

(Equation 4)
ρ(band 4) + ρ(band 5)  

5. References and Related Publications

Please refer to the USDA SMEX 03 Web site for in-depth information on the science mission and goal of the SMEX project.

6. Document Information


Table 4 lists acronyms used in this document:

Table 4. Acronyms
Acronym Description
AMSR-E Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer - Earth Observing System
CTRS Conventional Terrestrial Reference System
DN Digital Number
ENVI Environment for Visualizing Images
FTP File Transfer Protocol
ITRF International Terrestrial Reference Frame
NASA National Aeronautics and Space Administration
NDVI Normalized Difference Vegetation Index
NDWI Normalized Difference Water Index
NSIDC National Snow and Ice Data Center
ON Oklahoma North
OS Oklahoma South
SMEX Soil Moisture Experiment
TM Thematic Mapper
URL Uniform Resource Locator
UTM Universal Transverse Mercator
WGS 84 World Geodetic System 1984

Document Creation Date

February 2008

Document URL