Assessing integration of intensity, polarimetric scattering, interferometric coherence and spatial texture metrics in PALSAR-derived land cover classification

Huiran Jin, Giorgos Mountrakis, Stephen V. Stehman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations

Abstract

Synthetic aperture radar (SAR) is an important alternative to optical remote sensing due to its ability to acquire data regardless of weather conditions and day/night cycle. The Phased Array type L-band SAR (PALSAR) onboard the Advanced Land Observing Satellite (ALOS) provided new opportunities for vegetation and land cover mapping. Most previous studies employing PALSAR investigated the use of one or two feature types (e.g. intensity, coherence); however, little effort has been devoted to assessing the simultaneous integration of multiple types of features. In this study, we bridged this gap by evaluating the potential of using numerous metrics expressing four feature types: intensity, polarimetric scattering, interferometric coherence and spatial texture. Our case study was conducted in Central New York State, USA using multitemporal PALSAR imagery from 2010. The land cover classification implemented an ensemble learning algorithm, namely random forest. Accuracies of each classified map produced from different combinations of features were assessed on a pixel-by-pixel basis using validation data obtained from a stratified random sample. Among the different combinations of feature types evaluated, intensity was the most indispensable because intensity was included in all of the highest accuracy scenarios. However, relative to using only intensity metrics, combining all four feature types increased overall accuracy by 7%. Producer's and user's accuracies of the four vegetation classes improved considerably for the best performing combination of features when compared to classifications using only a single feature type.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)70-84
Number of pages15
JournalISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing
Volume98
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Engineering (miscellaneous)
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Computers in Earth Sciences

Keywords

  • ALOS/PALSAR
  • Accuracy assessment
  • Dual polarization
  • Feature synergy
  • Land cover classification
  • Stratified sampling

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