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Remote Sens., Volume 11, Issue 16 (August-2 2019)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) The harbours in the Norse colonies of the North Atlantic were generally simple landing places. To [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Retrieving Surface Soil Moisture over Wheat and Soybean Fields during Growing Season Using Modified Water Cloud Model from Radarsat-2 SAR Data
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(16), 1956; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11161956 - 20 Aug 2019
Viewed by 571
Abstract
Surface soil moisture (SSM) retrieval over agricultural fields using synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data is often obstructed by the vegetation effects on the backscattering during the growing season. This paper reports the retrieval of SSM from RADARSAT-2 SAR data that were acquired over [...] Read more.
Surface soil moisture (SSM) retrieval over agricultural fields using synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data is often obstructed by the vegetation effects on the backscattering during the growing season. This paper reports the retrieval of SSM from RADARSAT-2 SAR data that were acquired over wheat and soybean fields throughout the 2015 (April to October) growing season. The developed SSM retrieval algorithm includes a vegetation-effect correction. A method that can adequately represent the scattering behavior of vegetation-covered area was developed by defining the backscattering from vegetation and the underlying soil individually to remove the effect of vegetation on the total SAR backscattering. The Dubois model was employed to describe the backscattering from the underlying soil. A modified Water Cloud Model (MWCM) was used to remove the effect of backscattering that is caused by vegetation canopy. SSM was derived from an inversion scheme while using the dual co-polarizations (HH and VV) from the quad polarization RADARSAT-2 SAR data. Validation against ground measurements showed a high correlation between the measured and estimated SSM (R2 = 0.71, RMSE = 4.43 vol.%, p < 0.01), which suggested an operational potential of RADARSAT-2 SAR data on SSM estimation over wheat and soybean fields during the growing season. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Soil Moisture Retrieval using Radar Remote Sensing Sensors)
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Open AccessArticle
Automatic Extrinsic Self-Calibration of Mobile Mapping Systems Based on Geometric 3D Features
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(16), 1955; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11161955 - 20 Aug 2019
Viewed by 502
Abstract
Mobile Mapping is an efficient technology to acquire spatial data of the environment. The spatial data is fundamental for applications in crisis management, civil engineering or autonomous driving. The extrinsic calibration of the Mobile Mapping System is a decisive factor that affects the [...] Read more.
Mobile Mapping is an efficient technology to acquire spatial data of the environment. The spatial data is fundamental for applications in crisis management, civil engineering or autonomous driving. The extrinsic calibration of the Mobile Mapping System is a decisive factor that affects the quality of the spatial data. Many existing extrinsic calibration approaches require the use of artificial targets in a time-consuming calibration procedure. Moreover, they are usually designed for a specific combination of sensors and are, thus, not universally applicable. We introduce a novel extrinsic self-calibration algorithm, which is fully automatic and completely data-driven. The fundamental assumption of the self-calibration is that the calibration parameters are estimated the best when the derived point cloud represents the real physical circumstances the best. The cost function we use to evaluate this is based on geometric features which rely on the 3D structure tensor derived from the local neighborhood of each point. We compare different cost functions based on geometric features and a cost function based on the Rényi quadratic entropy to evaluate the suitability for the self-calibration. Furthermore, we perform tests of the self-calibration on synthetic and two different real datasets. The real datasets differ in terms of the environment, the scale and the utilized sensors. We show that the self-calibration is able to extrinsically calibrate Mobile Mapping Systems with different combinations of mapping and pose estimation sensors such as a 2D laser scanner to a Motion Capture System and a 3D laser scanner to a stereo camera and ORB-SLAM2. For the first dataset, the parameters estimated by our self-calibration lead to a more accurate point cloud than two comparative approaches. For the second dataset, which has been acquired via a vehicle-based mobile mapping, our self-calibration achieves comparable results to a manually refined reference calibration, while it is universally applicable and fully automated. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Mobile Mapping Technologies)
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Open AccessArticle
A Novel Hyperspectral Image Classification Pattern Using Random Patches Convolution and Local Covariance
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(16), 1954; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11161954 - 20 Aug 2019
Viewed by 508
Abstract
Today, more and more deep learning frameworks are being applied to hyperspectral image classification tasks and have achieved great results. However, such approaches are still hampered by long training times. Traditional spectral–spatial hyperspectral image classification only utilizes spectral features at the pixel level, [...] Read more.
Today, more and more deep learning frameworks are being applied to hyperspectral image classification tasks and have achieved great results. However, such approaches are still hampered by long training times. Traditional spectral–spatial hyperspectral image classification only utilizes spectral features at the pixel level, without considering the correlation between local spectral signatures. Our article has tested a novel hyperspectral image classification pattern, using random-patches convolution and local covariance (RPCC). The RPCC is an effective two-branch method that, on the one hand, obtains a specified number of convolution kernels from the image space through a random strategy and, on the other hand, constructs a covariance matrix between different spectral bands by clustering local neighboring pixels. In our method, the spatial features come from multi-scale and multi-level convolutional layers. The spectral features represent the correlations between different bands. We use the support vector machine as well as spectral and spatial fusion matrices to obtain classification results. Through experiments, RPCC is tested with five excellent methods on three public data-sets. Quantitative and qualitative evaluation indicators indicate that the accuracy of our RPCC method can match or exceed the current state-of-the-art methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Machine Learning Approaches for Hyperspectral Data Analysis)
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Open AccessArticle
Direct, ECOC, ND and END Frameworks—Which One Is the Best? An Empirical Study of Sentinel-2A MSIL1C Image Classification for Arid-Land Vegetation Mapping in the Ili River Delta, Kazakhstan
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(16), 1953; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11161953 - 20 Aug 2019
Viewed by 521
Abstract
To facilitate the advances in Sentinel-2A products for land cover from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Landsat imagery, Sentinel-2A MultiSpectral Instrument Level-1C (MSIL1C) images are investigated for large-scale vegetation mapping in an arid land environment that is located in the Ili River [...] Read more.
To facilitate the advances in Sentinel-2A products for land cover from Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Landsat imagery, Sentinel-2A MultiSpectral Instrument Level-1C (MSIL1C) images are investigated for large-scale vegetation mapping in an arid land environment that is located in the Ili River delta, Kazakhstan. For accurate classification purposes, multi-resolution segmentation (MRS) based extended object-guided morphological profiles (EOMPs) are proposed and then compared with conventional morphological profiles (MPs), MPs with partial reconstruction (MPPR), object-guided MPs (OMPs), OMPs with mean values (OMPsM), and object-oriented (OO)-based image classification techniques. Popular classifiers, such as C4.5, an extremely randomized decision tree (ERDT), random forest (RaF), rotation forest (RoF), classification via random forest regression (CVRFR), ExtraTrees, and radial basis function (RBF) kernel-based support vector machines (SVMs) are adopted to answer the question of whether nested dichotomies (ND) and ensembles of ND (END) are truly superior to direct and error-correcting output code (ECOC) multiclass classification frameworks. Finally, based on the results, the following conclusions are drawn: 1) the superior performance of OO-based techniques over MPs, MPPR, OMPs, and OMPsM is clear for Sentinel-2A MSIL1C image classification, while the best results are achieved by the proposed EOMPs; 2) the superior performance of ND, ND with class balancing (NDCB), ND with data balancing (NDDB), ND with random-pair selection (NDRPS), and ND with further centroid (NDFC) over direct and ECOC frameworks is not confirmed, especially in the cases of using weak classifiers for low-dimensional datasets; 3) from computationally efficient, high accuracy, redundant to data dimensionality and easy of implementations points of view, END, ENDCB, ENDDB, and ENDRPS are alternative choices to direct and ECOC frameworks; 4) surprisingly, because in the ensemble learning (EL) theorem, “weaker” classifiers (ERDT here) always have a better chance of reaching the trade-off between diversity and accuracy than “stronger” classifies (RaF, ExtraTrees, and SVM here), END with ERDT (END-ERDT) achieves the best performance with less than a 0.5% difference in the overall accuracy (OA) values, but is 100 to 10000 times faster than END with RaF and ExtraTrees, and ECOC with SVM while using different datasets with various dimensions; and, 5) Sentinel-2A MSIL1C is better choice than the land cover products from MODIS and Landsat imagery for vegetation species mapping in an arid land environment, where the vegetation species are critically important, but sparsely distributed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Image Segmentation for Environmental Monitoring)
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Open AccessReview
Remote Sensing of Environmental Changes in Cold Regions: Methods, Achievements and Challenges
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(16), 1952; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11161952 - 20 Aug 2019
Viewed by 1039
Abstract
Cold regions, including high-latitude and high-altitude landscapes, are experiencing profound environmental changes driven by global warming. With the advance of earth observation technology, remote sensing has become increasingly important for detecting, monitoring, and understanding environmental changes over vast and remote regions. This paper [...] Read more.
Cold regions, including high-latitude and high-altitude landscapes, are experiencing profound environmental changes driven by global warming. With the advance of earth observation technology, remote sensing has become increasingly important for detecting, monitoring, and understanding environmental changes over vast and remote regions. This paper provides an overview of recent achievements, challenges, and opportunities for land remote sensing of cold regions by (a) summarizing the physical principles and methods in remote sensing of selected key variables related to ice, snow, permafrost, water bodies, and vegetation; (b) highlighting recent environmental nonstationarity occurring in the Arctic, Tibetan Plateau, and Antarctica as detected from satellite observations; (c) discussing the limits of available remote sensing data and approaches for regional monitoring; and (d) exploring new opportunities from next-generation satellite missions and emerging methods for accurate, timely, and multi-scale mapping of cold regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Environmental Changes in Cold Regions)
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Open AccessArticle
Stability Assessment of Coastal Cliffs Incorporating Laser Scanning Technology and a Numerical Analysis
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(16), 1951; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11161951 - 20 Aug 2019
Viewed by 534
Abstract
We investigated the cliff coast in Jastrzebia Gora, Poland. The measurements that were taken between 2014 and 2018 by applying terrestrial, mobile, and airborne laser scanning describe a huge geometric modification involving dislocations in a 2.5 m range. Differential maps and a volumetric [...] Read more.
We investigated the cliff coast in Jastrzebia Gora, Poland. The measurements that were taken between 2014 and 2018 by applying terrestrial, mobile, and airborne laser scanning describe a huge geometric modification involving dislocations in a 2.5 m range. Differential maps and a volumetric change analysis made it possible to identify the most deformed cliff’s location. Part of the monitoring of coastal change involved the measurement of a cliff sector in order to determine the soil mass flow down the slope. A full geometric image of the cliff was complemented by a stability assessment that incorporated numerical methods. The analysis showed that the stability coefficients, assuming a particular soil strata layout and geotechnical parameters, are unsafely close to the limit value. Moreover, the numerical computations, which were performed under simplifying assumptions, were not able to capture a multitude of other random factors that may have an impact on the soil mass stability. Thus, displacements of both reinforced soil and gabions were detected that are intended to prevent the cliff from deforming and to protect the infrastructure in its vicinity. The array of applied measurement methods provides a basis for the development of research aimed at optimization of applied tools, safety improvements, and a rapid reaction to threats. Full article
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Open AccessLetter
Classification of Karst Fenglin and Fengcong Landform Units Based on Spatial Relations of Terrain Feature Points from DEMs
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(16), 1950; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11161950 - 20 Aug 2019
Viewed by 394
Abstract
In this paper, a method for extracting Fenglin and Fengcong landform units based on karst topographic feature points is proposed. First, the variable analysis window method is used to extract peaks, nadirs, and saddle points in the karst area based on digital elevation [...] Read more.
In this paper, a method for extracting Fenglin and Fengcong landform units based on karst topographic feature points is proposed. First, the variable analysis window method is used to extract peaks, nadirs, and saddle points in the karst area based on digital elevation model (DEM) data. Thiessen polygons that cover the karst surface area are constructed according to the locations of the peaks and nadirs, and the attributes of the saddles are assigned to corresponding polygons. The polygons are automatically classified via grouping analysis according to the corresponding spatial combinations of peaks, saddles, and nadirs in the Fenglin and Fengcong landform units. Then, a detailed division of the surface morphology of the karst area is achieved by distinguishing various types of Fenglin or Fengcong landform units. Experiments in the Guilin research area show that the proposed method successfully distinguishes the Fenglin and Fengcong terrain areas and extracts Fengcong landform units, individual Fenglin units, and Fenglin chains. The Fengcong area covers approximately two-thirds of the whole area, the individual Fenglin area covers approximately one-fourth, and the Fenglin chain area covers approximately one-tenth. The development of Fenglin has different stages in the Guilin area. This study provides data support for the detailed morphological study of karst terrain, and proposes a new research idea for the division and extraction of karst landform units. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in Global Digital Elevation Model Processing)
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Open AccessArticle
Precise Orbit Determination for GNSS Maneuvering Satellite with the Constraint of a Predicted Clock
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(16), 1949; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11161949 - 20 Aug 2019
Viewed by 458
Abstract
Precise orbit products are essential and a prerequisite for global navigation satellite system (GNSS) applications, which, however, are unavailable or unusable when satellites are undertaking maneuvers. We propose a clock-constrained reverse precise point positioning (RPPP) method to generate the rather precise orbits for [...] Read more.
Precise orbit products are essential and a prerequisite for global navigation satellite system (GNSS) applications, which, however, are unavailable or unusable when satellites are undertaking maneuvers. We propose a clock-constrained reverse precise point positioning (RPPP) method to generate the rather precise orbits for GNSS maneuvering satellites. In this method, the precise clock estimates generated by the dynamic precise orbit determination (POD) processing before maneuvering are modeled and predicted to the maneuvering periods and they constrain the RPPP POD during maneuvering. The prediction model is developed according to different clock types, of which the 2-h prediction error is 0.31 ns and 1.07 ns for global positioning system (GPS) Rubidium (Rb) and Cesium (Cs) clocks, and 0.45 ns and 0.60 ns for the Beidou navigation satellite system (BDS) geostationary orbit (GEO) and inclined geosynchronous orbit (IGSO)/Median Earth orbit (MEO) satellite clocks, respectively. The performance of this proposed method is first evaluated using the normal observations without maneuvers. Experiment results show that, without clock-constraint, the average root mean square (RMS) of RPPP orbit solutions in the radial, cross-track and along-track directions is 69.3 cm, 5.4 cm and 5.7 cm for GPS satellites and 153.9 cm, 12.8 cm and 10.0 cm for BDS satellites. When the constraint of predicted satellite clocks is introduced, the average RMS is dramatically reduced in the radial direction by a factor of 7–11, with the value of 9.7 cm and 13.4 cm for GPS and BDS satellites. At last, the proposed method is further tested on the actual GPS and BDS maneuver events. The clock-constrained RPPP POD solution is compared to the forward and backward integration orbits of the dynamic POD solution. The resulting orbit differences are less than 20 cm in all three directions for GPS satellite, and less than 30 cm in the radial and cross-track directions and up to 100 cm in the along-track direction for BDS satellites. From the orbit differences, the maneuver start and end time is detected, which reveals that the maneuver duration of GPS satellites is less than 2 min, and the maneuver events last from 22.5 min to 107 min for different BDS satellites. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Navigation Satellite Systems for Earth Observing System)
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Open AccessArticle
A Secchi Depth Algorithm Considering the Residual Error in Satellite Remote Sensing Reflectance Data
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(16), 1948; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11161948 - 20 Aug 2019
Viewed by 430
Abstract
A scheme to semi-analytically derive waters’ Secchi depth (Zsd) from remote sensing reflectance (Rrs) considering the effects of the residual errors in satellite Rrs was developed for the China Eastern Coastal Zone (CECZ). This approach was [...] Read more.
A scheme to semi-analytically derive waters’ Secchi depth (Zsd) from remote sensing reflectance (Rrs) considering the effects of the residual errors in satellite Rrs was developed for the China Eastern Coastal Zone (CECZ). This approach was evaluated and compared against three existing algorithms using field measurements. As it was challenging to provide the accurately inherent optical properties data for running the three existing algorithms in the extremely turbid waters, the new developed algorithm worked more effective than the latter. Moreover, with both synthetic and match-up data, the results indicated that the proposed algorithm was able to minimize some residual errors in Rrs, and thus could generate inter-mission consistent Zsd results from two ocean color missions. Finally, after application of new model to satellite images, we presented the spatial and temporal variations of Secchi depth and trophic state in the CECZ during 2002–2014. The study led to several findings: Firstly, the Zsd-based trophic state index (TSI) in the East China Sea first increased since 2002, and then gradually dropped during 2008–2014. Secondly, more and more waters within 30–35 m and 20–25 m isobaths were deteriorating from oligotrophic to mesotrophic type and from mesotrophic to eutrophic water, respectively, during 2002–2014. Lastly, the TSI increased on average 0.091 and 0.286 m per year respectively in Bohai Sea and Yellow Sea since 2002, and it might only take 14 and 67 years for Bohai Sea and Yellow Sea to deteriorate from mesotrophic to eutrophic water, following their current yearly deterioration rate and trophic trend. These results highlighted the importance to make some strict regulations for protecting the aquatic environment in the CECZ. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Ocean Remote Sensing)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluating the Temperature Difference Parameter in the SSEBop Model with Satellite-Observed Land Surface Temperature Data
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(16), 1947; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11161947 - 20 Aug 2019
Viewed by 507
Abstract
The Operational Simplified Surface Energy Balance (SSEBop) model uses the principle of satellite psychrometry to produce spatially explicit actual evapotranspiration (ETa) with remotely sensed and weather data. The temperature difference (dT) in the model is a predefined parameter quantifying the difference [...] Read more.
The Operational Simplified Surface Energy Balance (SSEBop) model uses the principle of satellite psychrometry to produce spatially explicit actual evapotranspiration (ETa) with remotely sensed and weather data. The temperature difference (dT) in the model is a predefined parameter quantifying the difference between surface temperature at bare soil and air temperature at canopy level. Because dT is derived from the average-sky net radiation based primarily on climate data, validation of the dT estimation is critical for assuring a high-quality ETa product. We used the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) data to evaluate the SSEBop dT estimation for the conterminous United States. MODIS data (2008–2017) were processed to compute the 10-year average land surface temperature (LST) and normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) at 1 km resolution and 8-day interval. The observed dT (dTo) was computed from the LST difference between hot (NDVI < 0.25) and cold (NDVI > 0.7) pixels within each 2° × 2° sampling block. There were enough hot and cold pixels within each block to create dTo timeseries in the West Coast and South-Central regions. The comparison of dTo and modeled dT (dTm) showed high agreement, with a bias of 0.8 K and a correlation coefficient of 0.88 on average. This study concludes that the dTm estimation from the SSEBop model is reliable, which further assures the accuracy of the ETa estimation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing: 10th Anniversary)
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Open AccessArticle
Remote Sensing-Guided Sampling Design with Both Good Spatial Coverage and Feature Space Coverage for Accurate Farm Field-Level Soil Mapping
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(16), 1946; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11161946 - 20 Aug 2019
Viewed by 414
Abstract
With the increasing requirements of precision agriculture for massive and various kinds of data, remote sensing technology has become indispensable in acquiring the necessary data for precision agriculture. Understanding the spatial variability of a target soil variable (i.e., soil mapping) is a critical [...] Read more.
With the increasing requirements of precision agriculture for massive and various kinds of data, remote sensing technology has become indispensable in acquiring the necessary data for precision agriculture. Understanding the spatial variability of a target soil variable (i.e., soil mapping) is a critical issue in solving many agricultural problems. Field sampling is one of the most commonly used technologies for soil mapping, but sample sizes are restricted by resources, such as field labor, soil physicochemical analysis, and funding. In this paper, we proposed a sampling design method with both good spatial coverage and feature space coverage to achieve more precise spatial variability of farm field-level target soil variables for limited sample sizes. The proposed method used the super-grid to achieve good spatial coverage, and it took advantage of remote sensing products that were highly correlated with the target soil property (SOM content) to achieve good feature space coverage. For the experiments, we employed the ordinary kriging (OK) method to map the soil organic matter (SOM) content. The different sized super-grid comparison experiments showed that the 400 × 400 m2 super-grid had the highest SOM content mapping accuracy. Then, we compared the proposed method to regular grid sampling (good spatial coverage) and k-means sampling (good feature space coverage), and the experimental results indicated that the proposed method had greater potential in the selection of representative samples that could improve the SOM content mapping accuracy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing in Agriculture and Vegetation)
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Open AccessArticle
Assimilation of Remotely-Sensed LAI into WOFOST Model with the SUBPLEX Algorithm for Improving the Field-Scale Jujube Yield Forecasts
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(16), 1945; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11161945 - 20 Aug 2019
Viewed by 400
Abstract
In order to enhance the simulated accuracy of jujube yields at the field scale, this study attempted to employ SUBPLEX algorithm to assimilate remotely sensed leaf area indices (LAI) of four key growth stages into a calibrated World Food Studies (WOFOST) model, and [...] Read more.
In order to enhance the simulated accuracy of jujube yields at the field scale, this study attempted to employ SUBPLEX algorithm to assimilate remotely sensed leaf area indices (LAI) of four key growth stages into a calibrated World Food Studies (WOFOST) model, and compare the accuracy of assimilation with the usual ensemble Kalman filter (EnKF) assimilation. Statistical regression models of LAI and Landsat 8 vegetation indices at different developmental stages were established, showing a validated R2 of 0.770, 0.841, 0.779, and 0.812, and a validated RMSE of 0.061, 0.144, 0.180, and 0.170 m2 m−2 for emergence, fruit filling, white maturity, and red maturity periods. The results showed that both SUBPLEX and EnKF assimilations significantly improved yield estimation performance compared with un-assimilated simulation. The SUBPLEX (R2 = 0.78 and RMSE = 0.64 t ha−1) also showed slightly better yield prediction accuracy compared with EnKF assimilation (R2 = 0.73 and RMSE = 0.71 t ha−1), especially for high-yield and low-yield jujube orchards. SUBPLEX assimilation produced a relative bias error (RBE, %) that was more concentrated near zero, being lower than 10% in 80.1%, and lower than 20% in 96.1% for SUBPLEX, 72.4% and 96.7% for EnKF, respectively. The study provided a new assimilation scheme based on SUBPLEX algorithm to employ remotely sensed data and a crop growth model to improve the field-scale fruit crops yield estimates. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Estimating Forest Volume and Biomass and Their Changes Using Random Forests and Remotely Sensed Data
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(16), 1944; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11161944 - 20 Aug 2019
Viewed by 534
Abstract
Despite the popularity of random forests (RF) as a prediction algorithm, methods for constructing confidence intervals for population means using this technique are still only sparsely reported. For two regional study areas (Spain and Norway) RF was used to predict forest volume or [...] Read more.
Despite the popularity of random forests (RF) as a prediction algorithm, methods for constructing confidence intervals for population means using this technique are still only sparsely reported. For two regional study areas (Spain and Norway) RF was used to predict forest volume or aboveground biomass using remotely sensed auxiliary data obtained from multiple sensors. Additionally, the changes per unit area of these forest attributes were estimated using indirect and direct methods. Multiple inferential frameworks have attracted increased recent attention for estimating the variances required for confidence intervals. For this study, three different statistical frameworks, design-based expansion, model-assisted and model-based estimators, were used for estimating population parameters and their variances. Pairs and wild bootstrapping approaches at different levels were compared for estimating the variances of the model-based estimates of the population means, as well as for mapping the uncertainty of the change predictions. The RF models accurately represented the relationship between the response and remotely sensed predictor variables, resulting in increased precision for estimates of the population means relative to design-based expansion estimates. Standard errors based on pairs bootstrapping within or internal to RF were considerably larger than standard errors based on both pairs and wild external bootstrapping of the entire RF algorithm. Pairs and wild external bootstrapping produced similar standard errors, but wild bootstrapping better mimicked the original structure of the sample data and better preserved the ranges of the predictor variables. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Remote Sensing)
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Open AccessArticle
Multi-Hazard Exposure Mapping Using Machine Learning Techniques: A Case Study from Iran
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(16), 1943; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11161943 - 20 Aug 2019
Viewed by 505
Abstract
Mountainous areas are highly prone to a variety of nature-triggered disasters, which often cause disabling harm, death, destruction, and damage. In this work, an attempt was made to develop an accurate multi-hazard exposure map for a mountainous area (Asara watershed, Iran), based on [...] Read more.
Mountainous areas are highly prone to a variety of nature-triggered disasters, which often cause disabling harm, death, destruction, and damage. In this work, an attempt was made to develop an accurate multi-hazard exposure map for a mountainous area (Asara watershed, Iran), based on state-of-the art machine learning techniques. Hazard modeling for avalanches, rockfalls, and floods was performed using three state-of-the-art models—support vector machine (SVM), boosted regression tree (BRT), and generalized additive model (GAM). Topo-hydrological and geo-environmental factors were used as predictors in the models. A flood dataset (n = 133 flood events) was applied, which had been prepared using Sentinel-1-based processing and ground-based information. In addition, snow avalanche (n = 58) and rockfall (n = 101) data sets were used. The data set of each hazard type was randomly divided to two groups: Training (70%) and validation (30%). Model performance was evaluated by the true skill score (TSS) and the area under receiver operating characteristic curve (AUC) criteria. Using an exposure map, the multi-hazard map was converted into a multi-hazard exposure map. According to both validation methods, the SVM model showed the highest accuracy for avalanches (AUC = 92.4%, TSS = 0.72) and rockfalls (AUC = 93.7%, TSS = 0.81), while BRT demonstrated the best performance for flood hazards (AUC = 94.2%, TSS = 0.80). Overall, multi-hazard exposure modeling revealed that valleys and areas close to the Chalous Road, one of the most important roads in Iran, were associated with high and very high levels of risk. The proposed multi-hazard exposure framework can be helpful in supporting decision making on mountain social-ecological systems facing multiple hazards. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Pattern Statistics Network for Classification of High-Resolution SAR Images
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(16), 1942; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11161942 - 20 Aug 2019
Viewed by 415
Abstract
The classification of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images is of great importance for rapid scene understanding. Recently, convolutional neural networks (CNNs) have been applied to the classification of single-polarized SAR images. However, it is still difficult due to the random and complex spatial [...] Read more.
The classification of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images is of great importance for rapid scene understanding. Recently, convolutional neural networks (CNNs) have been applied to the classification of single-polarized SAR images. However, it is still difficult due to the random and complex spatial patterns lying in SAR images, especially in the case of finite training data. In this paper, a pattern statistics network (PSNet) is proposed to address this problem. PSNet borrows the idea from the statistics and probability theory and explicitly embeds the random nature of SAR images in the representation learning. In the PSNet, both fluctuation and pattern representations are extracted for SAR images. More specifically, the fluctuation representation does not consider the rigorous relationships between local pixels and only describes the average fluctuation of local pixels. By contrast, the pattern representation is devoted to hierarchically capturing the interactions between local pixels, namely, the spatial patterns of SAR images. The proposed PSNet is evaluated on three real SAR data, including spaceborne and airborne data. The experimental results indicate that the fluctuation representation is useful and PSNet achieves superior performance in comparison with related CNN-based and texture-based methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing Image Processing)
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Open AccessEditorial
Editorial for Special Issue: “Remotely Sensed Albedo”
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(16), 1941; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11161941 - 20 Aug 2019
Viewed by 503
Abstract
Land surface (bare soil, vegetation, and snow) albedo is an essential climate variable that affects the Earth’s radiation budget, and therefore, is of vital interest for a broad number of applications: Thematic (urban, cryosphere, land cover, and bare soil), climate (Long Term Data [...] Read more.
Land surface (bare soil, vegetation, and snow) albedo is an essential climate variable that affects the Earth’s radiation budget, and therefore, is of vital interest for a broad number of applications: Thematic (urban, cryosphere, land cover, and bare soil), climate (Long Term Data Record), processing technics (gap filling, data merging), and products validation (cal/val) [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remotely Sensed Albedo)
Open AccessArticle
Structure from Motion Point Clouds for Structural Monitoring
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(16), 1940; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11161940 - 20 Aug 2019
Viewed by 492
Abstract
Dense point clouds acquired from Terrestrial Laser Scanners (TLS) have proved to be effective for structural deformation assessment. In the last decade, many researchers have defined methodology and workflow in order to compare different point clouds, with respect to each other or to [...] Read more.
Dense point clouds acquired from Terrestrial Laser Scanners (TLS) have proved to be effective for structural deformation assessment. In the last decade, many researchers have defined methodology and workflow in order to compare different point clouds, with respect to each other or to a known model, assessing the potentialities and limits of this technique. Currently, dense point clouds can be obtained by Close-Range Photogrammetry (CRP) based on a Structure from Motion (SfM) algorithm. This work reports on a comparison between the TLS technique and the Close-Range Photogrammetry using the Structure from Motion algorithm. The analysis of two Reinforced Concrete (RC) beams tested under four-points bending loading is presented. In order to measure displacement distributions, point clouds at different beam loading states were acquired and compared. A description of the instrumentation used and the experimental environment, along with a comprehensive report on the calculations and results obtained is reported. Two kinds of point clouds comparison were investigated: Mesh to mesh and modeling with geometric primitives. The comparison between the mesh to mesh (m2m) approach and the modeling (m) one showed that the latter leads to significantly better results for both TLS and CRP. The results obtained with the TLS for both m2m and m methodologies present a Root Mean Square (RMS) levels below 1 mm, while the CRP method yields to an RMS level of a few millimeters for m2m, and of 1 mm for m. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Point Cloud Processing and Analysis in Remote Sensing)
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Open AccessArticle
Spatial Variation of NO2 and Its Impact Factors in China: An Application of Sentinel-5P Products
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(16), 1939; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11161939 - 19 Aug 2019
Viewed by 520
Abstract
As an important tropospheric trace gas and precursor of photochemical smog, the accumulation of NO2 will cause serious air pollution. China, as the largest developing country in the world, has experienced a large amount of NO2 emissions in recent decades due [...] Read more.
As an important tropospheric trace gas and precursor of photochemical smog, the accumulation of NO2 will cause serious air pollution. China, as the largest developing country in the world, has experienced a large amount of NO2 emissions in recent decades due to the rapid economic growth. Compared with the traditional air pollution monitoring technology, the rapid development of the remote sensing monitoring method of atmospheric satellite has gradually become the critical technical means of global atmospheric environmental monitoring. To reveal the NO2 pollution situation in China, based on the latest NO2 products from Sentinel-5P TROPOMI, the spatial–temporal characteristics and impact factors of troposphere NO2 column concentration of mainland China in the past year (February 2018 to January 2019) were analyzed on two administrative levels for the first time. Results show that the monthly fluctuation of tropospheric NO2 column concentration has obvious characteristics of “high in winter and low in summer”, while the spatial distribution forms a “high in East and low in west” pattern, bounded by Hu Line. The comparison of Coefficient of Variation (CV) and spatial autocorrelation models at two kinds of administrative scales indicates that although the spatial heterogeneity of NO2 column concentration is less affected by the observed scale, there is a “delayed effect” of about one month in the process of NO2 column concentration fluctuation. Besides, the impact factors analysis based on Spatial Lag Model (SLM) and Geographic Weighted Regression (GWR) reveals that there is a positive correlation between nighttime light intensity, the secondary and tertiary industries proportion and NO2 column concentration. Furthermore, for regions with serious NO2 pollution in North China Plain, the whole society electricity consumption and vehicle ownership also play a positive role in increasing the NO2 column concentration. This study will enlighten the government and policy makers to formulate policies tailored to local conditions, to more effectively implement NO2 emission reduction and air pollution prevention. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Quantification of Hydrocarbon Abundance in Soils Using Deep Learning with Dropout and Hyperspectral Data
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(16), 1938; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11161938 - 19 Aug 2019
Viewed by 537
Abstract
Terrestrial hydrocarbon spills have the potential to cause significant soil degradation across large areas. Identification and remedial measures taken at an early stage are therefore important. Reflectance spectroscopy is a rapid remote sensing method that has proven capable of characterizing hydrocarbon-contaminated soils. In [...] Read more.
Terrestrial hydrocarbon spills have the potential to cause significant soil degradation across large areas. Identification and remedial measures taken at an early stage are therefore important. Reflectance spectroscopy is a rapid remote sensing method that has proven capable of characterizing hydrocarbon-contaminated soils. In this paper, we develop a deep learning approach to estimate the amount of Hydrocarbon (HC) mixed with different soil samples using a three-term backpropagation algorithm with dropout. The dropout was used to avoid overfitting and reduce computational complexity. A Hyspex SWIR 384 m camera measured the reflectance of the samples obtained by mixing and homogenizing four different soil types with four different HC substances, respectively. The datasets were fed into the proposed deep learning neural network to quantify the amount of HCs in each dataset. Individual validation of all the dataset shows excellent prediction estimation of the HC content with an average mean square error of ~2.2 × 10−4. The results with remote sensed data captured by an airborne system validate the approach. This demonstrates that a deep learning approach coupled with hyperspectral imaging techniques can be used for rapid identification and estimation of HCs in soils, which could be useful in estimating the quantity of HC spills at an early stage. Full article
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Open AccessTechnical Note
Compensation of Dispersion in Sinuous Antennas for Polarimetric Ground Penetrating Radar Applications
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(16), 1937; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11161937 - 19 Aug 2019
Viewed by 472
Abstract
In order to improve the accuracy of subsurface target classification with ground penetrating radar (GPR) systems, it is desired to transmit and receive ultra-wide band pulses with varying combinations of polarization (a technique referred to as polarimetry). The sinuous antenna exhibits such desirable [...] Read more.
In order to improve the accuracy of subsurface target classification with ground penetrating radar (GPR) systems, it is desired to transmit and receive ultra-wide band pulses with varying combinations of polarization (a technique referred to as polarimetry). The sinuous antenna exhibits such desirable properties as ultra-wide bandwidth, polarization diversity, and low-profile form factor, making it an excellent candidate for the radiating element of such systems. However, sinuous antennas are dispersive since the active region moves with frequency along the structure, resulting in the distortion of radiated pulses. This distortion may be compensated in signal processing with accurately simulated or measured antenna phase information. However, in a practical GPR, the antenna performance may deviate from that simulated, accurate measurements may be impractical, and/or the dielectric loading of the environment may cause deviations. In such cases, it may be desirable to employ a simple dispersion model based on antenna design parameters which may be optimized in situ. This paper explores the dispersive properties of the sinuous antenna and presents a simple, adjustable, model that may be used to correct dispersed pulses. The dispersion model is successfully applied to both simulated and measured scenarios, thereby enabling the use of sinuous antennas in polarimetric GPR applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Subsurface Sensing Technologies)
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Open AccessArticle
Validating the Predictive Power of Statistical Models in Retrieving Leaf Dry Matter Content of a Coastal Wetland from a Sentinel-2 Image
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(16), 1936; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11161936 - 19 Aug 2019
Viewed by 524
Abstract
Leaf dry matter content (LDMC), the ratio of leaf dry mass to its fresh mass, is a key plant trait, which is an indicator for many critical aspects of plant growth and survival. Accurate and fast detection of the spatiotemporal dynamics of LDMC [...] Read more.
Leaf dry matter content (LDMC), the ratio of leaf dry mass to its fresh mass, is a key plant trait, which is an indicator for many critical aspects of plant growth and survival. Accurate and fast detection of the spatiotemporal dynamics of LDMC would help understanding plants’ carbon assimilation and relative growth rate, and may then be used as an input for vegetation process models to monitor ecosystems. Satellite remote sensing is an effective tool for predicting such plant traits non-destructively. However, studies on the applicability of remote sensing for LDMC retrieval are scarce. Only a few studies have looked into the practicality of using remotely sensed data for the prediction of LDMC in a forest ecosystem. In this study, we assessed the performance of partial least squares regression (PLSR) plus 11 widely used vegetation indices (VIs), calculated based on different combinations of Sentinel-2 bands, in predicting LDMC in a coastal wetland. The accuracy of the selected methods was validated using LDMC, destructively measured in 50 randomly distributed sample plots at the study site in Schiermonnikoog, the Netherlands. The PLSR applied to canopy reflectance of Sentinel-2 bands resulted in accurate prediction of LDMC (coefficient of determination (R2) = 0.71, RMSE = 0.033). PLSR applied to the studied VIs provided an R2 of 0.70 and RMSE of 0.033. Four vegetation indices (enhanced vegetation index(EVI), specific leaf area vegetation index (SLAVI), simple ratio vegetation index (SRVI), and visible atmospherically resistant index (VARI)) computed using band 3 (green) and band 11 of the Sentinel-2 performed equally well and achieved a good measure of accuracy (R2 = 0.67, RMSE = 0.034). Our findings demonstrate the feasibility of using Sentinel-2 surface reflectance data to map LDMC in a coastal wetland. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Plant Functional Traits)
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Open AccessArticle
Spatio–Temporal Analysis of Deformation at San Emidio Geothermal Field, Nevada, USA Between 1992 and 2010
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(16), 1935; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11161935 - 19 Aug 2019
Viewed by 463
Abstract
Although subsidence has been observed at the San Emidio geothermal field in Nevada using interferometric synthetic aperture radar since the early 1990s, the spatial extent and temporal evolution of the subsidence have not heretofore been quantified. Furthermore, the weather conditions and geographic location [...] Read more.
Although subsidence has been observed at the San Emidio geothermal field in Nevada using interferometric synthetic aperture radar since the early 1990s, the spatial extent and temporal evolution of the subsidence have not heretofore been quantified. Furthermore, the weather conditions and geographic location of San Emidio negatively affect interferometric image quality, causing low correlation amongst pairs. To address this, we introduce a new method for selecting pairs in areas of low correlation and small deformation signal using a minimum spanning tree method with a measure of image quality as the weighting criterion. We validate our pair selection approach by comparing our data products to SqueeSAR TM data products from a previous study at San Emidio. We also develop a deformation model which characterizes the spatial extent of subsidence at San Emidio in terms of volume change of the reservoir. After applying this deformation model to our data set of interferometric pairs, we examine the temporal relationship of the observed deformation with production and injection operations associated with geothermal power production. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue InSAR for Earth Observation)
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Open AccessArticle
Monitoring Tropical Forest Structure Using SAR Tomography at L- and P-Band
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(16), 1934; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11161934 - 19 Aug 2019
Viewed by 512
Abstract
Our study aims to provide a comparison of the P- and L-band TomoSAR profiles, Land Vegetation and Ice Sensor (LVIS), and discrete return LiDAR to assess the ability for TomoSAR to monitor and estimate the tropical forest structure parameters for enhanced forest management [...] Read more.
Our study aims to provide a comparison of the P- and L-band TomoSAR profiles, Land Vegetation and Ice Sensor (LVIS), and discrete return LiDAR to assess the ability for TomoSAR to monitor and estimate the tropical forest structure parameters for enhanced forest management and to support biomass missions. The comparison relies on the unique UAVSAR Jet propulsion Laboratory (JPL)/NASA L-band data, P-band data acquired by ONERA airborne system (SETHI), Small Footprint LiDAR (SFL), and NASA Land, Vegetation and Ice Sensor (LVIS) LiDAR datasets acquired in 2015 and 2016 in the frame of the AfriSAR campaign. Prior to multi-baseline data processing, a phase residual correction methodology based on phase calibration via phase center double localization has been implemented to improve the phase measurements and compensate for the phase perturbations, and disturbances originated from uncertainties in allocating flight trajectories. First, the vertical structure was estimated from L- and P-band corrected Tomography SAR data measurements, then compared with the canopy height model from SFL data. After that, the SAR and LiDAR three-dimensional (3D) datasets are compared and discussed at a qualitative basis at the region of interest. The L- and P-band’s performance for canopy penetration was assessed to determine the underlying ground locations. Additionally, the 3D records for each configuration were compared with their ability to derive forest vertical structure. Finally, the vertical structure extracted from the 3D radar reflectivity from L- and P-band are compared with SFL data, resulting in a root mean square error of 3.02 m and 3.68 m, where the coefficient of determination shows a value of 0.95 and 0.93 for P- and L-band, respectively. The results demonstrate that TomoSAR holds promise for a scientific basis in forest management activities. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Semi-Supervised PolSAR Image Classification Based on Self-Training and Superpixels
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(16), 1933; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11161933 - 19 Aug 2019
Viewed by 413
Abstract
Polarimetric synthetic aperture radar (PolSAR) image classification is a recent technology with great practical value in the field of remote sensing. However, due to the time-consuming and labor-intensive data collection, there are few labeled datasets available. Furthermore, most available state-of-the-art classification methods heavily [...] Read more.
Polarimetric synthetic aperture radar (PolSAR) image classification is a recent technology with great practical value in the field of remote sensing. However, due to the time-consuming and labor-intensive data collection, there are few labeled datasets available. Furthermore, most available state-of-the-art classification methods heavily suffer from the speckle noise. To solve these problems, in this paper, a novel semi-supervised algorithm based on self-training and superpixels is proposed. First, the Pauli-RGB image is over-segmented into superpixels to obtain a large number of homogeneous areas. Then, features that can mitigate the effects of the speckle noise are obtained using spatial weighting in the same superpixel. Next, the training set is expanded iteratively utilizing a semi-supervised unlabeled sample selection strategy that elaborately makes use of spatial relations provided by superpixels. In addition, a stacked sparse auto-encoder is self-trained using the expanded training set to obtain classification results. Experiments on two typical PolSAR datasets verified its capability of suppressing the speckle noise and showed excellent classification performance with limited labeled data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing Image Processing)
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Open AccessArticle
Influence of Soil Background on Spectral Reflectance of Winter Wheat Crop Canopy
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(16), 1932; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11161932 - 19 Aug 2019
Viewed by 510
Abstract
The spectral reflectance of crop canopy is a spectral mixture, which includes soil background as one of the components. However, as soil is characterized by substantial spatial variability and temporal dynamics, its contribution to the spectral reflectance of crops will also vary. The [...] Read more.
The spectral reflectance of crop canopy is a spectral mixture, which includes soil background as one of the components. However, as soil is characterized by substantial spatial variability and temporal dynamics, its contribution to the spectral reflectance of crops will also vary. The aim of the research was to determine the impact of soil background on spectral reflectance of crop canopy in visible and near-infrared parts of the spectrum at different stages of crop development and how the soil type factor and the dynamics of soil surface affect vegetation indices calculated for crop assessment. The study was conducted on three test plots with winter wheat located in the Tula region of Russia and occupied by three contrasting types of soil. During field trips, information was collected on the spectral reflectance of winter wheat crop canopy, winter wheat leaves, weeds and open soil surface for three phenological phases (tillering, shooting stage, milky ripeness). The assessment of the soil contribution to the spectral reflectance of winter wheat crop canopy was based on a linear spectral mixture model constructed from field data. This showed that the soil background effect is most pronounced in the regions of 350–500 nm and 620–690 nm. In the shooting stage, the contribution of the soil prevails in the 620–690 nm range of the spectrum and the phase of milky ripeness in the region of 350–500 nm. The minimum contribution at all stages of winter wheat development was observed at wavelengths longer than 750 nm. The degree of soil influence varies with soil type. Analysis of variance showed that normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) was least affected by soil type factor, the influence of which was about 30%–50%, depending on the stage of winter wheat development. The influence of soil type on soil-adjusted vegetation index (SAVI) and enhanced vegetation index (EVI2) was approximately equal and varied from 60% (shooting phase) to 80% (tillering phase). According to the discriminant analysis, the ability of vegetation indices calculated for winter wheat crop canopy to distinguish between winter wheat crops growing on different soil types changed from the classification accuracy of 94.1% (EVI2) in the tillering stage to 75% (EVI2 and SAVI) in the shooting stage to 82.6% in the milky ripeness stage (EVI2, SAVI, NDVI). The range of the sensitivity of the vegetation indices to the soil background depended on soil type. The indices showed the greatest sensitivity on gray forest soil when the wheat was in the phase of milky ripeness, and on leached chernozem when the wheat was in the tillering phase. The observed patterns can be used to develop vegetation indices, invariant to second-type soil variations caused by soil type factor, which can be applied for the remote assessment of the state of winter wheat crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing in Agriculture and Vegetation)
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Open AccessArticle
A New Pseudoinvariant Near-Infrared Threshold Method for Relative Radiometric Correction of Aerial Imagery
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(16), 1931; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11161931 - 17 Aug 2019
Viewed by 528
Abstract
The utilization of high-resolution aerial imagery such as the National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) data is often hampered by a lack of methods for retrieving surface reflectance from digital numbers. This study developed a new relative radiometric correction method to retrieve 1 m [...] Read more.
The utilization of high-resolution aerial imagery such as the National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) data is often hampered by a lack of methods for retrieving surface reflectance from digital numbers. This study developed a new relative radiometric correction method to retrieve 1 m surface reflectance from NAIP imagery. The advantage of this method lies in the adaptive identification of pseudoinvariant (PIV) pixels from a time series of Landsat images that can fully characterize the temporally spectral variations of land surface. The identified PIV pixels allow for an effective conversion of digital numbers to surface reflectance, as demonstrated through the validation at 150 sites across the contiguous United States. The results show substantial improvement in the agreement of NAIP-derived normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) values with Landsat-derived NDVI reference. Across the sites, root mean square error and mean absolute error were reduced from 0.37 ± 0.14 to 0.08 ± 0.07 and from 0.91 ± 0.64 to 0.18 ± 0.52, respectively. Over 70% PIV pixels on average were derived from vegetated areas, while water and developed areas together contributed 27% of the PIV pixels. As the NAIP program is continuing to generate new images across the country, the advantages of its high spatial resolution, national coverage, long time series, and regular revisits will make it an increasingly crucial data source for a variety of research and management applications. The proposed method could benefit many agricultural, hydrological, and urban studies that rely on NAIP imagery to quantify land surface patterns and dynamics. It could also be applied to improve the preprocessing of high-resolution aerial imagery in other countries. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Super-Resolved Multiple Scatterers Detection in SAR Tomography Based on Compressive Sensing Generalized Likelihood Ratio Test (CS-GLRT)
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(16), 1930; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11161930 - 17 Aug 2019
Viewed by 513
Abstract
The application of SAR tomography (TomoSAR) on the urban infrastructure and other man-made buildings has gained increasing popularity with the development of modern high-resolution spaceborne satellites. Urban tomography focuses on the separation of the overlaid targets within one azimuth-range resolution cell, and on [...] Read more.
The application of SAR tomography (TomoSAR) on the urban infrastructure and other man-made buildings has gained increasing popularity with the development of modern high-resolution spaceborne satellites. Urban tomography focuses on the separation of the overlaid targets within one azimuth-range resolution cell, and on the reconstruction of their reflectivity profiles. In this work, we build on the existing methods of compressive sensing (CS) and generalized likelihood ratio test (GLRT), and develop a multiple scatterers detection method named CS-GLRT to automatically recognize the number of scatterers superimposed within a single pixel as well as to reconstruct the backscattered reflectivity profiles of the detected scatterers. The proposed CS-GLRT adopts a two-step strategy. In the first step, an L1-norm minimization is carried out to give a robust estimation of the candidate positions pixel by pixel with super-resolution. In the second step, a multiple hypothesis test is implemented in the GLRT to achieve model order selection, where the mapping matrix is constrained within the afore-selected columns, namely, within the candidate positions, and the parameters are estimated by least square (LS) method. Numerical experiments on simulated data were carried out, and the presented results show its capability of separating the closely located scatterers with a quasi-constant false alarm rate (QCFAR), as well as of obtaining an estimation accuracy approaching the Cramer–Rao Low Bound (CRLB). Experiments on real data of Spotlight TerraSAR-X show that CS-GLRT allows detecting single scatterers with high density, distinguishing a considerable number of double scatterers, and even detecting triple scatterers. The estimated results agree well with the ground truth and help interpret the true structure of the complex or buildings studied in the SAR images. It should be noted that this method is especially suitable for urban areas with very dense infrastructure and man-made buildings, and for datasets with tightly-controlled baseline distribution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing in Geology, Geomorphology and Hydrology)
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Open AccessArticle
A Metric for Evaluating the Geometric Quality of Land Cover Maps Generated with Contextual Features from High-Dimensional Satellite Image Time Series without Dense Reference Data
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(16), 1929; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11161929 - 17 Aug 2019
Viewed by 525
Abstract
Land cover maps are a key resource for many studies in Earth Observation, and thanks to the high temporal, spatial, and spectral resolutions of systems like Sentinel-2, maps with a wide variety of land cover classes can now be automatically produced over vast [...] Read more.
Land cover maps are a key resource for many studies in Earth Observation, and thanks to the high temporal, spatial, and spectral resolutions of systems like Sentinel-2, maps with a wide variety of land cover classes can now be automatically produced over vast areas. However, certain context-dependent classes, such as urban areas, remain challenging to classify correctly with pixel-based methods. Including contextual information into the classification can either be done at the feature level with texture descriptors or object-based approaches, or in the classification model itself, as is done in Convolutional Neural Networks. This improves recognition rates of these classes, but sometimes deteriorates the fine-resolution geometry of the output map, particularly in sharp corners and in fine elements such as rivers and roads. However, the quality of the geometry is difficult to assess in the absence of dense training data, which is usually the case in land cover mapping, especially over wide areas. This work presents a framework for measuring the geometric precision of a classification map, in order to provide deeper insight into the consequences of the use of various contextual features, when dense validation data is not available. This quantitative metric, named the Pixel Based Corner Match (PBCM), is based on corner detection and corner matching between a pixel-based classification result, and a contextual classification result. The selected case study is the classification of Sentinel-2 multi-spectral image time series, with a rich nomenclature containing context-dependent classes. To demonstrate the added value of the proposed metric, three spatial support shapes (window, object, superpixel) are compared according to their ability to improve the classification performance on this challenging problem, while paying attention to the geometric precision of the result. The results show that superpixels are the best candidate for the local statistics features, as they modestly improve the classification accuracy, while preserving the geometric elements in the image. Furthermore, the density of edges in a sliding window provides a significant boost in accuracy, and maintains a high geometric precision. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing Image Processing)
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Open AccessArticle
Evaluation of the Uncertainty in Satellite-Based Crop State Variable Retrievals Due to Site and Growth Stage Specific Factors and Their Potential in Coupling with Crop Growth Models
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(16), 1928; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11161928 - 17 Aug 2019
Viewed by 501
Abstract
Coupling crop growth models and remote sensing provides the potential to improve our understanding of the genotype x environment x management (G × E × M) variability of crop growth on a global scale. Unfortunately, the uncertainty in the relationship between the satellite [...] Read more.
Coupling crop growth models and remote sensing provides the potential to improve our understanding of the genotype x environment x management (G × E × M) variability of crop growth on a global scale. Unfortunately, the uncertainty in the relationship between the satellite measurements and the crop state variables across different sites and growth stages makes it difficult to perform the coupling. In this study, we evaluate the effects of this uncertainty with MODIS data at the Mead, Nebraska Ameriflux sites (US-Ne1, US-Ne2, and US-Ne3) and accurate, collocated Hybrid-Maize (HM) simulations of leaf area index (LAI) and canopy light use efficiency (LUECanopy). The simulations are used to both explore the sensitivity of the satellite-estimated genotype × management (G × M) parameters to the satellite retrieval regression coefficients and to quantify the amount of uncertainty attributable to site and growth stage specific factors. Additional ground-truth datasets of LAI and LUECanopy are used to validate the analysis. The results show that uncertainty in the LAI/satellite measurement regression coefficients lead to large uncertainty in the G × M parameters retrievable from satellites. In addition to traditional leave-one-site-out regression analysis, the regression coefficient uncertainty is assessed by evaluating the retrieval performance of the temporal change in LAI and LUECanopy. The weekly change in LAI is shown to be retrievable with a correlation coefficient absolute value (|r|) of 0.70 and root-mean square error (RMSE) value of 0.4, which is significantly better than the performance expected if the uncertainty was caused by random error rather than secondary effects caused by site and growth stage specific factors (an expected |r| value of 0.36 and RMSE value of 1.46 assuming random error). As a result, this study highlights the importance of accounting for site and growth stage specific factors in remote sensing retrievals for future work developing methods coupling remote sensing with crop growth models. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing in Agriculture and Vegetation)
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Open AccessArticle
Land-Cover Classification of Coastal Wetlands Using the RF Algorithm for Worldview-2 and Landsat 8 Images
Remote Sens. 2019, 11(16), 1927; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs11161927 - 17 Aug 2019
Viewed by 575
Abstract
Wetlands are one of the world’s most important ecosystems, playing an important role in regulating climate and protecting the environment. However, human activities have changed the land cover of wetlands, leading to direct destruction of the environment. If wetlands are to be protected, [...] Read more.
Wetlands are one of the world’s most important ecosystems, playing an important role in regulating climate and protecting the environment. However, human activities have changed the land cover of wetlands, leading to direct destruction of the environment. If wetlands are to be protected, their land cover must be classified and changes to it monitored using remote sensing technology. The random forest (RF) machine learning algorithm, which offers clear advantages (e.g., processing feature data without feature selection and preferable classification result) for high spatial image classification, has been used in many study areas. In this research, to verify the effectiveness of this algorithm for remote sensing image classification of coastal wetlands, two types of spatial resolution images of the Linhong Estuary wetland in Lianyungang—Worldview-2 and Landsat-8 images—were used for land cover classification using the RF method. To demonstrate the preferable classification accuracy of the RF algorithm, the support vector machine (SVM) and k-nearest neighbor (k-NN) methods were also used to classify the same area of land cover for comparison with the results of RF classification. The study results showed that (1) the overall accuracy of the RF method reached 91.86%, higher than the SVM and k-NN methods by 4.68% and 4.72%, respectively, for Worldview-2 images; (2) at the same time, the classification accuracies of RF, SVM, and k-NN were 86.61%, 79.96%, and 77.23%, respectively, for Landsat-8 images; (3) for some land cover types having only a small number of samples, the RF algorithm also achieved better classification results using Worldview-2 and Landsat-8 images, and (4) the addition texture features could improve the classification accuracy of the RF method when using Worldview-2 images. Research indicated that high-resolution remote sensing images are more suitable for small-scale land cover classification image and that the RF algorithm can provide better classification accuracy and is more suitable for coastal wetland classification than the SVM and k-NN algorithms are. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Satellite-Based Wetland Observation)
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