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Using AVIRIS data and multiple-masking techniques to map urban forest tree species

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Tree type and species information are critical parameters for urban forest management, benefit cost analysis and urban planning. However, traditionally, these parameters have been derived based on limited field samples in urban forest management practice. In this study we used high-resolution Airborne Visible Infrared Imaging Spectrometer (AVIRIS) data and multiple-spectral masking techniques to identify and map urban forest trees. Trees were identified based on their spectral character difference in AVIRIS data. The use of multiple-masking techniques shift the focus to the target land cover types only, thus reducing confounding noise during spectral analysis. The results were checked against ground reference data and by comparison to tree information in an existing geographical information system (GIS) database. At the tree type level, mapping was accomplished with 94% accuracy. At the tree species level, the average accuracy was 70% but this varied with both tree type and species. Of the four evergreen tree species, the average accuracy was 69%. For the 12 deciduous tree species, the average accuracy was 70%. The relatively low accuracy for several deciduous species was due to small tree size and overlapping among tree crowns at the 3.5 m spatial resolution of AVIRIS data. This urban forest tree species mapping method has the potential to increase data update intervals and accuracy while reducing costs compared to field sampling or other traditional methods.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: December 1, 2004

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