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Open AccessArticle

Auto-Extraction of Linear Archaeological Traces of Tuntian Irrigation Canals in Miran Site (China) from Gaofen-1 Satellite Imagery

1
Key Laboratory of Digital Earth Science, Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth (RADI), Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Beijing 100094, China
2
International Centre on Space Technologies for Natural and Cultural Heritage (HIST) under the Auspices of UNESCO, Beijing 100094, China
3
Key Laboratory for Earth Observation of Hainan Province, Sanya 572029, China
4
Institute of Methodologies for Environmental Analysis (IMAA), CNR, C.da Santa Loja, 85050 Tito Scalo (PZ), Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2018, 10(5), 718; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10050718
Received: 3 April 2018 / Revised: 2 May 2018 / Accepted: 6 May 2018 / Published: 7 May 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Remote Sensing for Archaeological Heritage)
This paper describes the use of the Chinese Gaofen-1 (GF-1) satellite imagery to automatically extract tertiary Linear Archaeological Traces of Tuntian Irrigation Canals (LATTICs) located in the Miran site. The site is adjacent to the ancient Loulan Kingdom at the eastern margin of the Taklimakan Desert in western China. GF-1 data were processed following atmospheric and geometric correction, and spectral analyses were carried out for multispectral data. The low values produced by spectral separability index (SSI) indicate that it is difficult to distinguish buried tertiary LATTICs from similar backgrounds using spectral signatures. Thus, based on the textual characteristics of high-resolution GF-1 panchromatic data, this paper proposes an automatic approach that combines joint morphological bottom and hat transformation with a Canny edge operator. The operator was improved by adding stages of geometric filtering and gradient vector direction analysis. Finally, the detected edges of tertiary LATTICs were extracted using the GIS-based draw tool and converted into shapefiles for archaeological mapping within a GIS environment. The proposed automatic approach was verified with an average accuracy of 95.76% for 754 tertiary LATTICs in the entire Miran site and compared with previous manual interpretation results. The results indicate that GF-1 VHR PAN imagery can successfully uncover the ancient tuntian agricultural landscape. Moreover, the proposed method can be generalized and applied to extract linear archaeological traces such as soil and crop marks in other geographic locations. View Full-Text
Keywords: auto-extraction; remote sensing archaeology; tuntian; LATTICs; GF-1; Silk Road; Miran auto-extraction; remote sensing archaeology; tuntian; LATTICs; GF-1; Silk Road; Miran
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MDPI and ACS Style

Luo, L.; Wang, X.; Lasaponara, R.; Xiang, B.; Zhen, J.; Zhu, L.; Yang, R.; Liu, D.; Liu, C. Auto-Extraction of Linear Archaeological Traces of Tuntian Irrigation Canals in Miran Site (China) from Gaofen-1 Satellite Imagery. Remote Sens. 2018, 10, 718.

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