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Evaluation of Multi-Frequency SAR Images for Tropical Land Cover Mapping

Institute for Geographical Sciences, Freie Universität Berlin, Malteserstr. 74-100, 12249 Berlin, Germany
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Remote Sens. 2018, 10(2), 257; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10020257
Received: 4 December 2017 / Revised: 26 January 2018 / Accepted: 31 January 2018 / Published: 7 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Remote Sensing)
Earth Observation (EO) data plays a major role in supporting surveying compliance of several multilateral environmental treaties, such as UN-REDD+ (United Nations Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation). In this context, land cover maps of remote sensing data are the most commonly used EO products and development of adequate classification strategies is an ongoing research topic. However, the availability of meaningful multispectral data sets can be limited due to cloud cover, particularly in the tropics. In such regions, the use of SAR systems (Synthetic Aperture Radar), which are nearly independent form weather conditions, is particularly promising. With an ever-growing number of SAR satellites, as well as the increasing accessibility of SAR data, potentials for multi-frequency remote sensing are becoming numerous. In our study, we evaluate the synergistic contribution of multitemporal L-, C-, and X-band data to tropical land cover mapping. We compare classification outcomes of ALOS-2, RADARSAT-2, and TerraSAR-X datasets for a study site in the Brazilian Amazon using a wrapper approach. After preprocessing and calculation of GLCM texture (Grey Level Co-Occurence), the wrapper utilizes Random Forest classifications to estimate scene importance. Comparing the contribution of different wavelengths, ALOS-2 data perform best in terms of overall classification accuracy, while the classification of TerraSAR-X data yields higher accuracies when compared to the results achieved by RADARSAT-2. Moreover, the wrapper underlines potentials of multi-frequency classification as integration of multi-frequency images is always preferred over multi-temporal, mono-frequent composites. We conclude that, despite distinct advantages of certain sensors, for land cover classification, multi-sensoral integration is beneficial. View Full-Text
Keywords: SAR; Amazon; forest; land cover classification SAR; Amazon; forest; land cover classification
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Hagensieker, R.; Waske, B. Evaluation of Multi-Frequency SAR Images for Tropical Land Cover Mapping. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 257.

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