Object-Based Urban Detailed Land Cover Classification with High Spatial Resolution IKONOS Imagery

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Improvement in remote sensing techniques in spatial/spectral resolution strengthens their applicability for urban environmental study. Unfortunately, high spatial resolution imagery also increases internal variability in land cover units and can cause a ‘salt-and-pepper’ effect, resulting in decreased accuracy using pixel-based classification results. Region-based classification techniques, using an image object (IO) rather than a pixel as a classification unit, appear to hold promise as a method for overcoming this problem. Using IKONOS high spatial resolution imagery, we examined whether the IO technique could significantly improve classification accuracy compared to the pixel-based method when applied to urban land cover mapping in Tampa Bay, FL, USA. We further compared the performance of an artificial neural network (ANN) and a minimum distance classifier (MDC) in urban detailed land cover classification and evaluated whether the classification accuracy was affected by the number of extracted IO features. Our analysis methods included IKONOS image data calibration, data fusion with the pansharpening (PS) process, Hue–Intensity–Saturation (HIS) transferred indices and textural feature extraction, and feature selection using a stepwise discriminant analysis (SDA). The classification results were evaluated with visually interpreted data from high-resolution (0.3 m) digital aerial photographs. Our results indicate a statistically significant difference in classification accuracy between pixel- and object-based techniques; ANN outperforms MDC as an object-based classifier; and the use of more features (27 vs. 9 features) increases the IO classification accuracy, although the increase is statistically significant for the MDC but not for the ANN.

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International Journal of Remote Sensing, v. 32, issue 12, p. 3285-3308