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An Improved Approach Considering Intraclass Variability for Mapping Winter Wheat Using Multitemporal MODIS EVI Images

1
International Institute for Earth System Science, Nanjing University, Nanjing 210023, China
2
Department of Plant and Soil Sciences, College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Kentucky, KY 40546, USA
3
(Retired) Division of Geographic Information, Commonwealth Office of Technology, Frankfort, KY 40601, USA
4
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Murray State University, Murray, KY 42071, USA
5
Key Laboratory of Ecosystem Network Observation and Modeling, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(10), 1191; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11101191
Received: 8 March 2019 / Revised: 13 May 2019 / Accepted: 16 May 2019 / Published: 19 May 2019
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Abstract

Winter wheat is one of the major cereal crops in the world. Monitoring and mapping its spatial distribution has significant implications for agriculture management, water resources utilization, and food security. Generally, winter wheat has distinguished phenological stages during the growing season, which form a unique EVI (Enhanced Vegetation Index) time series curve and differ considerably from other crop types and natural vegetation. Since early 2000, the MODIS EVI product has become the primary dataset for satellite-based crop monitoring at large scales due to its high temporal resolution, huge observation scope, and timely availability. However, the intraclass variability of winter wheat caused by field conditions and agricultural practices might lower the mapping accuracy, which has received little attention in previous studies. Here, we present a winter wheat mapping approach that integrates the variables derived from the MODIS EVI time series taking into account intraclass variability. We applied this approach to two winter wheat concentration areas, the state of Kansas in the U.S. and the North China Plain region (NCP). The results were evaluated against crop-specific maps or statistical data at the state/regional level, county level, and site level. Compared with statistical data, the accuracies in Kansas and the NCP were 95.1% and 92.9% at the state/regional level with R2 (Coefficient of Determination) values of 0.96 and 0.71 at the county level, respectively. Overall accuracies in confusion matrix were evaluated by validation samples in both Kansas (90.3%) and the NCP (85.0%) at the site level. Comparisons with methods without considering intraclass variability demonstrated that winter wheat mapping accuracies were improved by 17% in Kansas and 15% in the NCP using the improved approach. Further analysis indicated that our approach performed better in areas with lower landscape fragmentation, which may partly explain the relatively higher accuracy of winter wheat mapping in Kansas. This study provides a new perspective for generating multiple subclasses as training inputs to decrease the intraclass differences for crop type detection based on the MODIS EVI time series. This approach provides a flexible framework with few variables and fewer training samples that could facilitate its application to multiple-crop-type mapping at large scales. View Full-Text
Keywords: MODIS; winter wheat mapping; intraclass variability; EVI time series; multidimensional vector; Landscape metrics MODIS; winter wheat mapping; intraclass variability; EVI time series; multidimensional vector; Landscape metrics
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Yang, Y.; Tao, B.; Ren, W.; Zourarakis, D.P.; Masri, B.E.; Sun, Z.; Tian, Q. An Improved Approach Considering Intraclass Variability for Mapping Winter Wheat Using Multitemporal MODIS EVI Images. Remote Sens. 2019, 11, 1191.

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