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Multi-temporal RADARSAT-2 polarimetric SAR data for urban land-cover classification using an object-based support vector machine and a rule-based approach

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We have investigated multi-temporal polarimetric synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data for urban land-cover classification using an object-based support vector machine (SVM) in combinations of rules. Six-date RADARSAT-2 high-resolution polarimetric SAR data in both ascending and descending passes were acquired in the rural–urban fringe of the Greater Toronto Area during the summer of 2008. The major land-use/land-cover classes include high-density residential areas, low-density residential areas, industrial and commercial areas, construction sites, parks, golf courses, forests, pasture, water, and two types of agricultural crops. Various polarimetric SAR parameters were evaluated for urban land-cover mapping and they include the parameters from Pauli, Freeman and Cloude–Pottier decompositions, the coherency matrix, intensities of each polarization, and their logarithm forms. The multi-temporal SAR polarimetric features were classified first using an SVM classifier. Then specific rules were developed to improve the SVM classification results by extracting major roads and streets using shape features and contextual information. For the comparison of the polarimetric SAR parameters, the best classification performance was achieved using the compressed logarithmic filtered Pauli parameters. For the evaluation of the multi-temporal SAR data set, the best classification result was achieved using all six-date data (kappa = 0.91), while very good classification results (kappa = 0.86) were achieved using only three-date polarimetric SAR data. The results indicate that the combination of both the ascending and the descending polarimetric SAR data with an appropriate temporal span is suitable for urban land-cover mapping.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Division of Geodesy and Geoinformatics,KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden

Publication date: January 10, 2013

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