Non-linear mixture modelling without end-members using an artificial neural network
Abstract. Many methods of analysing remotely sensed data assume that pixels are pure, and so a failure to accommodate mixed pixels may result in significant errors in data interpretation and analysis. The analysis of data containing a large proportion of mixed pixels may therefore benefit from the decomposition of the pixels into their component parts. Methods for unmixing the composition of pixels have been used in a range of studies and have often increased the accuracy of the analyses. However, many of the methods assume linear mixing and require end-member spectra, but mixing is often non-linear and end-member spectra are difficult to obtain. In this paper, an alternative approach to unmixing the composition of image pixels, which makes no assumptions about the nature of the mixing and does not require end-member spectra, is presented. The method is based on an artificial neural network (ANN) and shown in a case study to provide accurate estimates of sub-pixel land cover composition. The results of this case study showed that accurate estimates of the proportional cover of a class and its areal extent may be made. It was also shown that there was a tendency for the accuracy of the unmixing to increase with the complexity of the network and the intensity of training. The results indicate the potential to derive accurate information from remotely sensed data sets dominated by mixed pixels.