Impervious surface mapping incorporating high-resolution remote sensing imagery has continued to attract increasing interest, as it can provide detailed information about urban structure and distribution. Previous studies have suggested that the combination of LiDAR data and high-resolution imagery for impervious surface mapping yields better performance than the use of high-resolution imagery alone. However, due to LiDAR data’s high cost of acquisition, it is difficult to obtain LiDAR data that was acquired at the same time as the high-resolution imagery in order to conduct impervious surface mapping by multi-sensor remote sensing data. Consequently, the occurrence of real landscape changes between multi-sensor remote sensing data sets with different acquisition times results in misclassification errors in impervious surface mapping. This issue has generally been neglected in previous works. Furthermore, observation differences that were generated from multi-sensor data—including the problems of misregistration, missing data in LiDAR data, and shadow in high-resolution images—also present obstacles to achieving the final mapping result in the fusion of LiDAR data and high-resolution images. In order to resolve these issues, we propose an improved impervious surface-mapping method incorporating both LiDAR data and high-resolution imagery with different acquisition times that consider real landscape changes and observation differences. In the proposed method, multi-sensor change detection by supervised multivariate alteration detection (MAD) is employed to identify the changed areas and mis-registered areas. The no-data areas in the LiDAR data and the shadow areas in the high-resolution image are extracted via independent classification based on the corresponding single-sensor data. Finally, an object-based post-classification fusion is proposed that takes advantage of both independent classification results while using single-sensor data and the joint classification result using stacked multi-sensor data. The impervious surface map is subsequently obtained by combining the landscape classes in the accurate classification map. Experiments covering the study site in Buffalo, NY, USA demonstrate that our method can accurately detect landscape changes and unambiguously improve the performance of impervious surface mapping.
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