Main Article Content
Several topographic correction methods have been developed to be applied to orbital imagery. The main objective of these initiatives has been focused on improving land cover mapping. Despite of some discussions that include spectral approaches, no attention has been given to the impact of such correction on the spectral characterization of different targets. That impact can influence relationships commonly explored between radiometric data from orbital imagery and biophysical and/or geophysical parameters. TM/Landsat 5 images (orbit 218, row 76) from a mountainous region located between São Paulo, Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro states (Brazil) were converted to surface reflectance values. Two topographic correction methods considering different sampling strategies were applied. The local illumination was taking into account during the result analysis in order to evaluate the selective effect of the topographic correction on the spectral characterization of bare soils and vegetated surfaces. The results indicated that the sampling strategy influences both the visual aspect of the topographic corrected images and the spectral characterization of targets. Spectral distortions caused by the topographic correction procedures were higher at darker illumination conditions. The topographic correction is a procedure that deserves attention when exploring spectral characterization of different targets. Sometimes it contributes positively in qualitative approaches such as mapping or digital classification, but it can imply in severe influence on quantitative approaches that are dependent on the targets spectral characterization.