Remote Sens.2015, 7(3), 2627-2646; doi:10.3390/rs70302627 - published 5 March 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Many crop production management decisions can be informed using data from high-resolution aerial images that provide information about crop health as influenced by soil fertility and moisture. Surface soil moisture is a key component of soil water balance, which addresses water and energy exchanges at the surface/atmosphere interface; however, high-resolution remotely sensed data is rarely used to acquire soil moisture values. In this study, an artificial neural network (ANN) model was developed to quantify the effectiveness of using spectral images to estimate surface soil moisture. The model produces acceptable estimations of surface soil moisture (root mean square error (RMSE) = 2.0, mean absolute error (MAE) = 1.8, coefficient of correlation (r) = 0.88, coefficient of performance (e) = 0.75 and coefficient of determination (R2) = 0.77) by combining field measurements with inexpensive and readily available remotely sensed inputs. The spatial data (visual spectrum, near infrared, infrared/thermal) are produced by the AggieAir™ platform, which includes an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) that enables users to gather aerial imagery at a low price and high spatial and temporal resolutions. This study reports the development of an ANN model that translates AggieAir™ imagery into estimates of surface soil moisture for a large field irrigated by a center pivot sprinkler system.
Remote Sens.2015, 7(3), 2602-2626; doi:10.3390/rs70302602 - published 5 March 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The self-adaptive gradient-based thresholding (SAGBT) method is a simple non-interactive coal fire detection approach involving segmentation and a threshold identification algorithm that adapts to the spatial distribution of thermal features over a landscape. SAGBT detects coal fire using multispectral thermal images acquired by the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflection Radiometer (ASTER) sensor. The method was detailed by our previous work “Self-Adaptive Gradient-Based Thresholding Method for Coal Fire Detection Based on ASTER Data—Part 1, Methodology”. The current study evaluates the performance of SAGBT and validates its results by using ASTER thermal infrared (TIR) images and ground temperature data collected at the Wuda coalfield (China) during satellite overpass. We further analyzed algorithm performance by using nighttime TIR images and images from different seasons. SAGBT-derived fires matched fire spots measured in the field with an average offset of 32.44 m and a matching rate of 70%–85%. Coal fire areas from TIR images generally agreed with coal-related anomalies from visible-near infrared (VNIR) images. Further, high-temperature pixels in the ASTER image matched observed coal fire areas, including the major extreme high-temperature regions derived from field samples. Finally, coal fires detected by daytime and by nighttime images were found to have similar spatial distributions, although fires differ in shape and size. Results included the stratification of our study site into two temperature groups (high and low temperature), using a fire boundary. We conclude that SAGBT can be successfully used for coal fire detection and analysis at our study site.
Remote Sens.2015, 7(3), 2543-2601; doi:10.3390/rs70302543 - published 4 March 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Rapid socioeconomic development in earthquake-prone areas can cause rapid changes in seismic loss risks. These changes make it difficult to ensure that risk reduction strategies are realistic, practical and effective over time. To overcome this difficulty, ongoing changes in risk should be captured timely, definitively, and accurately and then specific and well-timed adjustments of the relevant strategies should be made. However, methods for rapidly characterizing such seismic disaster risks over a large area have not been sufficiently developed. By focusing on building loss risks, this paper presents the development of an integrated method that combines remote sensing data and local knowledge to resolve this problem. This method includes two key interdependent steps. (1) To extract the heights and footprint areas of a large number of buildings accurately and quickly from single high-resolution optical remote sensing images; (2) To estimate the floor areas, identify structural types, develop damage probability matrixes, and determine economic parameters for calculating monetary losses due to seismic damage to the buildings by reviewing building-relevant local knowledge based on these two parameters (i.e., the building heights and footprint areas). This method is demonstrated in the Tangshan area of China. Based on the integrated method, the total floor area of the residential and public office buildings in central Tangshan in 2009 was 3.99% lower than the corresponding area number obtained by a conventional earthquake loss estimation project. Our field-based verification indicated that the mean relative error of the method for estimating the floor areas of the assessed buildings was 2.99%. A simulation of the impacts of the 1976 Ms 7.8 Tangshan earthquake using this method indicated that the total damaged floor area of the residential and public office buildings and the associated direct monetary loses in the study area could have been 8.00 and 28.73 times greater, respectively, than in 1976 if this earthquake had recurred in 2009, which is a strong warning to the local people regarding the increasing challenges they may face.
Remote Sens.2015, 7(3), 2509-2542; doi:10.3390/rs70302509 - published 3 March 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In the megadiverse tropical mountain forest in the Andes of southern Ecuador, a global biodiversity hotspot, the use of fire to clear land for cattle ranching is leading to the invasion of an aggressive weed, the bracken fern, which is threatening diversity and the provisioning of ecosystem services. To find sustainable land use options adapted to the local situation, a profound knowledge of the long-term spatiotemporal patterns of land cover change and its drivers is necessary, but hitherto lacking. The complex topography and the high cloud frequency make the use of remote sensing in this area a challenge. To deal with these conditions, we pursued specific pre-processing steps before classifying five Landsat scenes from 1975 to 2001. Then, we quantified land cover changes and habitat fragmentation, and we investigated landscape changes in relation to key spatial elements (altitude, slope, and distance from roads). Good classification results were obtained with overall accuracies ranging from 94.5% to 98.5% and Kappa statistics between 0.75 and 0.98. Forest was strongly fragmented due to the rapid expansion of the arable frontier and the even more rapid invasion by bracken. Unexpectedly, more bracken-infested areas were converted to pastures than vice versa, a practice that could alleviate pressure on forests if promoted. Road proximity was the most important spatial element determining forest loss, while for bracken the altitudinal range conditioned the degree of invasion in deforested areas. The annual deforestation rate changed notably between periods: ~1.5% from 1975 to 1987, ~0.8% from 1987 to 2000, and finally a very high rate of ~7.5% between 2000 and 2001. We explained these inconstant rates through some specific interrelated local and national political and socioeconomic drivers, namely land use policies, credit and tenure incentives, demography, and in particular, a severe national economic and bank crisis.
Remote Sens.2015, 7(3), 2474-2508; doi:10.3390/rs70302474 - published 3 March 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This paper proposes an object-based segmentation/classification scheme for remotely sensed images, based on a novel variant of the recently proposed Genetic Sequential Image Segmentation (GeneSIS) algorithm. GeneSIS segments the image in an iterative manner, whereby at each iteration a single object is extracted via a genetic-based object extraction algorithm. Contrary to the previous pixel-based GeneSIS where the candidate objects to be extracted were evaluated through the fuzzy content of their included pixels, in the newly developed region-based GeneSIS algorithm, a watershed-driven fine segmentation map is initially obtained from the original image, which serves as the basis for the forthcoming GeneSIS segmentation. Furthermore, in order to enhance the spatial search capabilities, we introduce a more descriptive encoding scheme in the object extraction algorithm, where the structural search modules are represented by polygonal shapes. Our objectives in the new framework are posed as follows: enhance the flexibility of the algorithm in extracting more flexible object shapes, assure high level classification accuracies, and reduce the execution time of the segmentation, while at the same time preserving all the inherent attributes of the GeneSIS approach. Finally, exploiting the inherent attribute of GeneSIS to produce multiple segmentations, we also propose two segmentation fusion schemes that operate on the ensemble of segmentations generated by GeneSIS. Our approaches are tested on an urban and two agricultural images. The results show that region-based GeneSIS has considerably lower computational demands compared to the pixel-based one. Furthermore, the suggested methods achieve higher classification accuracies and good segmentation maps compared to a series of existing algorithms.
Remote Sens.2015, 7(3), 2471-2473; doi:10.3390/rs70302471 - published 2 March 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: I wonder if James Clerk Maxwell, Scottish mathematical physicist and father of the classical theory of electromagnetic radiation, could have imagined being included on the cover of a book dealing with a sensing technology used to locate the position of buried pipes, to analyze the integrity of buildings, and to uncover ancient archaeological sites [...]