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Open Access The Land-cover Change Mapper (LCM) and its Application to Timber Harvest Monitoring in Western Canada

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We introduce an automated change detection and delineation tool for remote sensing images: the Land-cover Change Mapper (LCM). LCM rapidly generates a polygon vector layer (shapefile) of regions deemed to have undergone significant change in land-cover. In its simplest usage, LCM requires two single band or multi-band co-registered images of the same scene acquired at different dates, and as the only user-defined parameter, the minimum size for change regions. The main advantages of this tool are that (a) it is fully unsupervised, (b) it is exceptionally fast, (c) it is robust to geometric misregistration errors and variations in illumination, and (d) it produces visually pleasing outlines that resemble those obtained through manual digitization. We describe how the tool works, illustrate its application to monitoring forest clear-cuts on a 1,000 km2 area in Western Canada using SPOT imagery, compare it to a commercial tool, and report on its thematic and spatial accuracy. A freeware LCM version is available on the Internet.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: August 1, 2009

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  • The official journal of the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing - the Imaging and Geospatial Information Society (ASPRS). This highly respected publication covers all facets of photogrammetry and remote sensing methods and technologies.

    Founded in 1934, the American Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ASPRS) is a scientific association serving over 7,000 professional members around the world. Our mission is to advance knowledge and improve understanding of mapping sciences to promote the responsible applications of photogrammetry, remote sensing, geographic information systems (GIS), and supporting technologies.
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