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Sub‐pixel estimation of urban land cover components with linear mixture model analysis and Landsat Thematic Mapper imagery

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We examine the utility of linear mixture modelling in the sub‐pixel analysis of Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper (ETM) imagery to estimate the three key land cover components in an urban/suburban setting: impervious surface, managed/unmanaged lawn and tree cover. The relative effectiveness of two different endmember sets was also compared. The interior endmember set consisted of the median pixel value of the training pixels of each land cover and the exterior endmember set was the extreme pixel value. As a means of accuracy assessment, the resulting land cover estimates were compared with independent estimates obtained from the visual interpretation of digital orthophotography and classified IKONOS imagery. Impervious surface estimates from the Landsat ETM showed a high degree of similarity (RMS error (RMSE) within approximately ±10 to 15%) to that obtained using high spatial resolution digital orthophotography and IKONOS imagery. The partition of the vegetation component into tree vs grass cover was more problematic due to the greater spectral similarity between these land cover types with RMSE of approximately ±12 to 22%. The interior endmember set appeared to provide better differentiation between grass and urban tree cover than the exterior endmember set. The ability to separate the grass vs tree components in urban vegetation is of major importance to the study of the urban/suburban ecosystems as well as watershed assessment.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Center for Remote Sensing and Spatial Analysis, Rutgers University, 14 College Farm Road, New Brunswick, NJ 08901‐2551

Publication date: 2005-11-20

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