Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Integrated Geospatial Technology (MS)

Administrative Home Department

School of Technology

Advisor 1

Eugene Levin

Committee Member 1

Curtis Edson

Committee Member 2

Michael Hyslop


This thesis provides an overview of oil spill scenarios and the remote sensing methods used for detection and mapping the spills. It also discusses the different kinds of thermal sensors used in oil spills detection. As UAS is becoming an important player in the oil and gas industry for the low operating costs involved, this research involved working with a cheap thermal airborne sensor mounted on DJI Phantom 4 system. Data was collected in two scenarios, first scenario is collecting data in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula at a petroleum company location and the second scenario was an indoor experiment simulating an offshore spill. The aim of this research is to inspect the capability of Lepton LWIR inexpensive sensor to detect the areas contaminated with oil. Data processing to create classification maps involved using ArcGIS 10.5.1, ERDAS Imagine 2015 and ENVI 5.3. Depending accuracy assessment (confusion matrices) for the classified images and comparing classified images with ground truth, results shows the Lepton thermal sensor worked well in differentiating oil from water and was not a good option when there are many objects in the area of interest. Future research recommendations are presented in this document.