Using LandSat satellites to find shipwrecks



So, anyone on the cutting edge of using the open data sets from these satellites to find potential ship wreck locations?

For those that don’t want to click through to the article, researchers have built a model to identify sedimet plumes in shallow water from the wrecks.


@badevguru Thanks for getting the conversation started on this.

For those that are interested, here is the Landsat 8 Data.

I’ve read through the original article, and while I agree with their conclusions, interpretation is still very difficult and hard to make out. This also really only works well for pretty shallow wrecks (<50ft). With that being said, anyone with the right software can try and find wrecks. I use TerrSet for my remote sensing applications.


Thanks @badevguru for talking about hunting shipwrecks

I haven’t used any of the Landsat 8 Data but from practical experience a lot of wrecks do have significant sand scour patters and this can be a good sign when using other detection methods as well (you can see the patterns in Sidescan sonar as well as multibeam)

I would also suspect if you looked at some of the different spectrums available from the satellite there could be some interesting results in even some of the clearer water as in addition to the plume being generated by the scour there can be discolorations in the bottom

I have used for shallow water wreck detection successfully

In addition I have had some pretty good access to a large amount of Laser Airborne Depth Sounder (LADS) data which can be good (dependent upon water clarity to approx. 20m) and has turned up a number of targets and a couple of new wrecks

Finally I would suggest anyone interested in “free” data for analysis to have a look at

And download the how to guide as a good starting point

PS the original Journal of Archaeological Science pdf file is here