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Land cover discrimination potential of radar multitemporal series and optical multispectral images in a Mediterranean cultural landscape

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The aim of the present study is (1) to evaluate the performances of two series of European Remote Sensing (ERS) Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) images for land cover classification of a Mediterranean landscape (Minorca, Spain), compared with multispectral information from Système Pour l'Observation de la Terre (SPOT) and Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM) sensors, and (2) to test the synergy of SAR and optical data with a fusion method based on the Demspter-Shafer evidence theory, which is designed to deal with imprecise information. We have evaluated as a first step the contribution of multitemporal ERS data and contextual methods of classification, with and without filtering, for the discrimination of vegetation types. The present study shows the importance of time series of the ERS sensor and of the vectorial MMSE (minimum mean square error) filter based on segmentation for land cover classification. Fifteen land cover classes were discriminated (eight concerning different vegetation types) with a mean producer's accuracy of 0.81 for a five-date time series within 1998, and of 0.71 for another four-date time series for 1994/1995. These results are comparable to those from SPOT XS images: 0.69 for July, 0.67 for October (0.85 for July plus October), and also from TM data (0.81). These results are corroborated by the kappa coefficient of agreement. The fusion between the 1994 series of ERS and XS (July), based on a derived method of the Dempster-Shafer evidence theory, shows a slight improvement on overall accuracies: +0.06 of mean producer's accuracy and +0.04 of kappa coefficient.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0143116032000160480

Affiliations: 1: Departament d'Ecologia Facultat de Biologia Universitat de Barcelona Diagonal 645 08028 Barcelona Spain 2: Centre d'Etudes Spatiales de la Biosphère (CNES/CNRS/IRD/UPS) 18 Avenue Edouard Belin 31055 Toulouse Cedex France

Publication date: September 1, 2004

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