Effects of image pansharpening on soil total nitrogen prediction models in South India

Image fusion is in its infancy in the application of Digital Soil Mapping, and the incorporation of the image pansharpened spectral indices into the soil prediction models has seldom been analyzed. This research performed image pansharpening of Landsat 8, WorldView-2, and Pleiades-1A in a smallholder village called Masuti in South India using three pansharpening techniques: Brovey, Gram-Schmit (GS), and Intensity-Hue-Saturation (IHS) methods. The research analyzed the relationships between multispectral (MS) and pansharpened (PAN) spectral indices and soil total nitrogen (TN), developed the soil TN prediction models using Random Forest methods, and explored the effects of different PAN spectral indices on soil TN prediction models. The results showed the spectral behavior of PAN spectral indices and MS spectral indices were similar. The results also demonstrated that soil TN models based on MS/PAN spectral indices have slightly higher model performance and more detailed characterization of TN spatial pattern compared with soil TN models based on MS spectral indices. Soil TN models based on the GS PAN and MS spectral indices attained slightly higher prediction accuracy compared with those based on other PAN and MS spectral indices. This research advocates the promotion of image pansharpening techniques in digital soil mapping and soil nutrient management research.