Mapping Complex Urban Land Cover from Spaceborne Imagery: The Influence of Spatial Resolution, Spectral Band Set and Classification Approach

Rahman Momeni, Paul Aplin, Doreen S. Boyd

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

    85 Citations (Scopus)
    113 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    Detailed land cover information is valuable for mapping complex urban environments. Recent enhancements to satellite sensor technology promise fit-for-purpose data, particularly when processed using contemporary classification approaches. We evaluate this promise by comparing the influence of spatial resolution, spectral band set and classification approach for mapping detailed urban land cover in Nottingham, UK. A WorldView-2 image provides the basis for a set of 12 images with varying spatial and spectral characteristics, and these are classified using three different approaches (maximum likelihood (ML), support vector machine (SVM) and object-based image analysis (OBIA)) to yield 36 output land cover maps. Classification accuracy is evaluated independently and McNemar tests are conducted between all paired outputs (630 pairs in total) to determine which classifications are significantly different. Overall accuracy varied between 35% for ML classification of 30 m spatial resolution, 4-band imagery and 91% for OBIA classification of 2 m spatial resolution, 8-band imagery. The results demonstrate that spatial resolution is clearly the most influential factor when mapping complex urban environments, and modern “very high resolution” or VHR sensors offer great advantage here. However, the advanced spectral capabilities provided by some recent sensors, coupled with contemporary classification approaches (especially SVMs and OBIA), can also lead to significant gains in mapping accuracy. Ongoing development in instrumentation and methodology offer huge potential here and imply that urban mapping opportunities will continue to grow.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1-23
    JournalRemote Sensing
    Volume8
    Issue number2
    Early online date23 Jan 2016
    DOIs
    Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Jan 2016

    Keywords

    • urban
    • land cover
    • classification
    • WorldView-2
    • spatial resolution
    • spectral band
    • SVM
    • OBIA
    • accuracy
    • McNemar test

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