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Using long short-term memory recurrent neural network in land cover classification on Landsat and Cropland data layer time series

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Land cover maps are significant in assisting agricultural decision making. However, the existing workflow of producing land cover maps is very complicated and the result accuracy is ambiguous. This work builds a long short-term memory (LSTM) recurrent neural network (RNN) model to take advantage of the temporal pattern of crops across image time series to improve the accuracy and reduce the complexity. An end-to-end framework is proposed to train and test the model. Landsat scenes are used as Earth observations, and some field-measured data together with CDL (Cropland Data Layer) datasets are used as reference data. The network is thoroughly trained using state-of-the-art techniques of deep learning. Finally, we tested the network on multiple Landsat scenes to produce five-class and all-class land cover maps. The maps are visualized and compared with ground truth, CDL, and the results of SegNet CNN (convolutional neural network). The results show a satisfactory overall accuracy (> 97% for five-class and > 88% for all-class) and validate the feasibility of the proposed method. This study paves a promising way for using LSTM RNN in the classification of remote sensing image time series.
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Center for Spatial Information Science and Systems, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA

Publication date: January 17, 2019

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