Remote Sensing in the Cloud – Evaluating water optical properties using HICO IPS

This is part of an ongoing series dedicated to reviewing the algorithms currently implemented in the cloud-based HICO Image Processing System (HICO IPS). Links to additional posts in this series describing the other algorithms are provided below. Here we provide an overview of the algorithm utilized for evaluating water optical properties in coastal and oceanic water.


Objective – Retrieve water optical properties for coastal and oceanic water from hyperspectral imagery using a generalized multi-band algorithm.

Algorithm – Estimate water optical properties for absorption and backscattering (specifically, total absorption, phytoplankton absorption, detritus and gelbstoff absorption, total backscattering, and particle backscattering) using the Quasi-Analytical Algorithm (QAA v5; Lee et al. 2009, 2002).

Inputs – User specified HICO scene, with optional region-of-interest; optional NDWI land/water mask, with user adjustable NDWI threshold; and specification of desired optical property.

HICO IPS Turkish Straits

Output – Selected water optical property at 438 nm (m-1) depicted using a blue-red color ramp where blue represents low values and red represents high values. If the NDWI land/water mask was selected, then the selected optical property is only calculated and mapped for the water pixels.

HICO IPS Turkish Straits QAA

Try it out today for yourself:


Related posts

Introducing the HICO Image Processing System

Calculating a land/water mask using HICO IPS

Deriving chlorophyll concentration using HICO IPS

Characterizing shallow coastal environments using HICO IPS



Lee Z, Lubac B, Werdell J, Arnone R (2009) An update of the quasi-analytical algorithm (QAA_v5), International Ocean Color Group Software Report, 9 pp.

Lee Z, Carder KL, Arnone RA (2002) Deriving inherent optical properties from water color: a multiband quasi-analytical algorithm for optically deep waters, Applied optics, vol. 41(27), 5755-5772.

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