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Uncertainty Problems in Image Change Detection

School of Geomatics and Urban Spatial Information, Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture, Beijing 100044, China
Department of Geography, University of Calgary, Calgary, AB T2N 1N4, Canada
Department of Geography, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Milwaukee, WI 53211, USA
Key Laboratory of Environmental Change and Natural Disaster, Ministry of Education, Academy of Disaster Reduction and Emergency Management; Faculty of Geographical Science, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
College of Mechanical Engineering and Automation, Fuzhou University, Fuzhou 350108, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(1), 274;
Received: 27 October 2019 / Revised: 19 December 2019 / Accepted: 20 December 2019 / Published: 30 December 2019
Image Change Detection (ICD) methods are widely adopted to update large area land use/cover products. Uncertainty problems, however, are well known in such techniques, and a transparent assessment is necessary. In this study, a framework was proposed for evaluating binary land change utilizing remote sensing images. First, two widely adopted ICD methods were used to establish change maps. Second, binary decisions on Change (C) and Non-Change (NC) classes were reached through thresholding on change maps. Then, results were evaluated using two sampling designs: random sampling and stratified sampling. Analysis of results suggests that (1) for random sampling, with an increasing threshold on change variables, the overall accuracy increases and shows a large variance, which is highly correlated with the C omission error; and (2) comparatively, for stratified sampling, in which two strata (i.e., C and NC) were set, the overall accuracy shows a smaller variance and is highly associated with the NC commission error. The significant trends in accuracy assessments indicate the trade-offs between the C and NC classification errors in a binary decision and can present superficial or perfunctory accuracy evaluation in certain circumstances that the causes of error sources and uncertainty problems in ICD are not fully understood. View Full-Text
Keywords: land change; evaluation; accuracy analysis; image change detection land change; evaluation; accuracy analysis; image change detection
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MDPI and ACS Style

Wang, W.; Hall-Beyer, M.; Wu, C.; Fang, W.; Nsengiyumva, W. Uncertainty Problems in Image Change Detection. Sustainability 2020, 12, 274.

AMA Style

Wang W, Hall-Beyer M, Wu C, Fang W, Nsengiyumva W. Uncertainty Problems in Image Change Detection. Sustainability. 2020; 12(1):274.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Wang, Wenyu, Mryka Hall-Beyer, Changshan Wu, Weihua Fang, and Walter Nsengiyumva. 2020. "Uncertainty Problems in Image Change Detection" Sustainability 12, no. 1: 274.

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