Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Processing Satellite Imagery To Detect Waste Tire Piles


This article, posted on www.techbriefs.com, discusses the development of a new methodology in satellite imagery analysis. The developers, Joseph Skiles, Cynthia Schmidt, Becky Quinlan, and Catherine Huybrechts, state that they have created a new methodology for processing commercially available satellite spectral imagery to identify and map waste tire piles in California. The methodology uses a combination of previously commercially available image-processing and georeferencing software. This is then used to develop a model that identifies tire piles.

Tire piles are difficult to distinguish in satellite imagery because of their low reflectance levels. Often times tire piles are mistaken for shadows or deep water. The developers of this methodology claim it attempts to correct these misinterpretations by using software that implements the Tire Identification from Reflectance (TIRe) model. The development of the TIRe model incorporated lessons learned in previous research on the detection and mapping of tire piles by various methods of analysis (manual/visual and/or computational) of aerial and satellite imagery.

  • Reduces time spent surveying regions for tire sites
  • This methodology still requires a trained analyst to go over the tentative findings and discriminate between tires, water, vegetation, etc.

Source: http://www.techbriefs.com/component/content/article/2486


  1. Wow, I didn't realize that this was a problem, but I think it's a great use of technology to combat waste. The acronym is more than appropriate. It obviously would take a trained eye to spot such an important, yet low-reflective object.

  2. I agree with Regis. I had no idea this was an issue. Apparently if there is satellite imaging tools designed with tire piles in mind...there has to be money supporting it coming from somewhere. I just wonder where...