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Remote Sens., Volume 12, Issue 1 (January-1 2020) – 201 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) The ability to map burn severity and to understand how it varies as a function of the time of year [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Predicting Carbon Accumulation in Temperate Forests of Ontario, Canada Using a LiDAR-Initialized Growth-and-Yield Model
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(1), 201; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010201 - 06 Jan 2020
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Climate warming has led to an urgent need for improved estimates of carbon accumulation in uneven-aged, mixed temperate forests, where high uncertainty remains. We investigated the feasibility of using LiDAR-derived forest attributes to initialize a growth and yield (G&Y) model in complex stands [...] Read more.
Climate warming has led to an urgent need for improved estimates of carbon accumulation in uneven-aged, mixed temperate forests, where high uncertainty remains. We investigated the feasibility of using LiDAR-derived forest attributes to initialize a growth and yield (G&Y) model in complex stands at the Petawawa Research Forest (PRF) in eastern Ontario, Canada; i.e., can G&Y models based on LiDAR provide accurate predictions of aboveground carbon accumulation in complex forests compared to traditional inventory-based estimates? Applying a local G&Y model, we forecasted aboveground carbon stock (tons/ha) and accumulation (tons/ha/yr) using recurring plot measurements from 2012–2016, FVS1. We applied statistical predictors derived from LiDAR to predict stem density (SD), stem diameter distribution (SDD), and basal area distribution (BA_dist). These data, along with measured species abundance, were used to initialize a second model (FVS2). A third model was tested using LiDAR-initialized tree lists and photo-interpreted estimates of species abundance (i.e., FVS3). The carbon stock projections for 2016 from the inventory-based G&Y model) were equivalent to validation carbon stocks measured in 2016 at all size-class levels (p < 0.05), while LiDAR-based G&Y models were not. None of the models were equivalent to validation data for accumulation (p > 0.05). At the plot level, LiDAR-based predictions of carbon accumulation over a nine-year period did not differ when using either inventory or photo-interpreted species (p < 0.05). Using a constant mortality rate, we also found statistical equivalency of inventory and photo-interpreted accumulation models for all size classes ≥17 cm. These results suggest that more precise information is needed on tree characteristics than we could derive from LiDAR, but that plot-level species information is not as critical for predictions of carbon accumulation in mixed-species forests. Further work is needed on the use of LiDAR to quantify stand properties before this technique can be used to replace recurring plot measurements to quantify carbon accumulation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Forest Growth in a Changing Climate)
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Open AccessArticle
Photophysiology and Spectroscopy of Sun and Shade Leaves of Phragmites australis and the Effect on Patches of Different Densities
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(1), 200; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010200 - 06 Jan 2020
Viewed by 337
Abstract
Remote sensing of vegetation has largely been revolving around the measurement of passive or active electromagnetic radiation of the top of the canopy. Nevertheless, plants hold a vertical structure and different processes and intensities take place within a plant organism depending on the [...] Read more.
Remote sensing of vegetation has largely been revolving around the measurement of passive or active electromagnetic radiation of the top of the canopy. Nevertheless, plants hold a vertical structure and different processes and intensities take place within a plant organism depending on the environmental conditions. One of the main inputs for photosynthesis is photosynthetic active radiation (PAR) and a few studies have taken into account the effect of the qualitative and quantitative changes of the available PAR within the plants canopies. Mostly large plants (trees, shrubs) are affected by this phenomena, while signs of it could be observed in dense monocultures, too. Lake Balaton is a large lake with 12 km2 dense reed stands, some of which have been suffering from reed die-back; consequently, the reed density and stress condition exhibit a vertical PAR variability within the canopy due to the structure and condition of the plants but also a horizontal variability attributed to the reedbed’s heterogeneous density. In this study we investigate the expression of photosynthetic and spectroscopic parameters in different PAR conditions. We concentrate on chlorophyll fluorescence as this is an early-stage indicator of stress manifestation in plants. We first investigate how these parameters differ across leaf samples which are exposed to a higher degree of PAR variability due to their vertical position in the reed culm (sun and shade leaves). In the second part, we concentrate on how the same parameters exhibit in reed patches of different densities. We then look into hyperspectral regions through graphs of coefficient of determination and associate the former with the physiological parameters. We report on the large variability found from measurements taken at different parts of the canopy and the association with spectral regions in the visible and near-infrared domain. We find that at low irradiance plants increase their acclimation to low light conditions. Plant density at Phragmites stands affects the vertical light attenuation and consequently the photophysiological response of basal leaves. Moreover, the hyperspectral response from the sun and shade leaves has been found to differ; charts of the coefficient of determination indicate that the spectral region around the red-edge inflection point for each case of sun and shade leaves correlate strongly with ETRmax and α. When analysing the data cumulatively, independent of their vertical position within the stand, we found correlations of R2 = 0.65 (band combination 696 and 651) and R2 = 0.61 (band combination 636 and 642) for the ETRmax and α, respectively. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Estuarine, Lagoon and Delta Environments)
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Open AccessArticle
Responses of Water Use Efficiency to Drought in Southwest China
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(1), 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010199 - 06 Jan 2020
Viewed by 380
Abstract
Water use efficiency (WUE) measures the tradeoff between carbon uptake and water consumption in terrestrial ecosystems. It remains unclear how the responses of WUE to drought vary with drought severity. We assessed the spatio-temporal variations of ecosystem WUE and its responses to drought [...] Read more.
Water use efficiency (WUE) measures the tradeoff between carbon uptake and water consumption in terrestrial ecosystems. It remains unclear how the responses of WUE to drought vary with drought severity. We assessed the spatio-temporal variations of ecosystem WUE and its responses to drought for terrestrial ecosystems in Southwest China over the period 2000–2017. The annual WUE values varied with vegetation type in the region: Forests (3.25 gC kg−1H2O) > shrublands (2.00 gC kg−1H2O) > croplands (1.76 gC kg−1H2O) > grasslands (1.04 gC kg−1H2O). During the period 2000–2017, frequent droughts occurred in Southwest China, and overall, drought had an enhancement effect on WUE. However, the effects of drought on WUE varied with vegetation type and drought severity. Croplands were the most sensitive to drought, and slight water deficiency led to the decline of cropland WUE. Over grasslands, mild drought increased its WUE while moderate and severe drought reduced its WUE. For forests and shrublands, mild and moderate drought increased their WUE, and only severe drought reduce their WUE, indicating that these ecosystems had stronger resistance to drought. Assessing the patterns and trends of ecosystem WUE and its responses to drought are essential for understanding plant water use strategy and informing ecosystem water management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing and Modeling of the Terrestrial Water Cycle)
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Open AccessArticle
Inter-Seasonal Time Series Imagery Enhances Classification Accuracy of Grazing Resource and Land Degradation Maps in a Savanna Ecosystem
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(1), 198; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010198 - 06 Jan 2020
Viewed by 538
Abstract
In savannas, mapping grazing resources and indicators of land degradation is important for assessing ecosystem conditions and informing grazing and land management decisions. We investigated the effects of classifiers and used time series imagery—images acquired within and across seasons—on the accuracy of plant [...] Read more.
In savannas, mapping grazing resources and indicators of land degradation is important for assessing ecosystem conditions and informing grazing and land management decisions. We investigated the effects of classifiers and used time series imagery—images acquired within and across seasons—on the accuracy of plant species maps. The study site was a grazed savanna in southern Kenya. We used Sentinel-2 multi-spectral imagery due to its high spatial (10–20 m) and temporal (five days) resolution with support vector machine (SVM) and random forest (RF) classifiers. The species mapped were important for grazing livestock and wildlife (three grass species), indicators of land degradation (one tree genus and one invasive shrub), and a fig tree species. The results show that increasing the number of images, including dry season imagery, results in improved classification accuracy regardless of the classifier (average increase in overall accuracy (OA) = 0.1632). SVM consistently outperformed RF, and the most accurate model and was SVM with a radial kernel using imagery from both wet and dry seasons (OA = 0.8217). Maps showed that seasonal grazing areas provide functionally different grazing opportunities and have different vegetation characteristics that are critical to a landscape’s ability to support large populations of both livestock and wildlife. This study highlights the potential of multi-spectral satellite imagery for species-level mapping of savannas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing in Agriculture and Vegetation)
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Open AccessArticle
Remote Sensing of Mangroves and Estuarine Communities in Central Queensland, Australia
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(1), 197; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010197 - 06 Jan 2020
Viewed by 338
Abstract
Great Barrier Reef catchments are under pressure from the effects of climate change, landscape modifications, and hydrology alterations. With the use of remote sensing datasets covering large areas, conventional methods of change detection can expose broad transitions, whereas workflows that excerpt data for [...] Read more.
Great Barrier Reef catchments are under pressure from the effects of climate change, landscape modifications, and hydrology alterations. With the use of remote sensing datasets covering large areas, conventional methods of change detection can expose broad transitions, whereas workflows that excerpt data for time-series trends divulge more subtle transformations of land cover modification. Here, we combine both these approaches to investigate change and trends in a large estuarine region of Central Queensland, Australia, that encompasses a national park and is adjacent to the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage site. Nine information classes were compiled in a maximum likelihood post classification change analysis in 2004–2017. Mangroves decreased (1146 hectares), as was the case with estuarine wetland (1495 hectares), and saltmarsh grass (1546 hectares). The overall classification accuracies and Kappa coefficient for 2004, 2006, 2009, 2013, 2015, and 2017 land cover maps were 85%, 88%, 88%, 89%, 81%, and 92%, respectively. The cumulative area of open forest, estuarine wetland, and saltmarsh grass (1628 hectares) was converted to pasture in a thematic change analysis showing the “from–to” change. We generated linear regression relationships to examine trends in pixel values across the time series. Our findings from a trend analysis showed a decreasing trend (p value range = 0.001–0.099) in the vegetation extent of open forest, fringing mangroves, estuarine wetlands, saltmarsh grass, and grazing areas, but this was inconsistent across the study site. Similar to reports from tropical regions elsewhere, saltmarsh grass is poorly represented in the national park. A severe tropical cyclone preceding the capture of the 2017 Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) image was likely the main driver for reduced areas of shoreline and stream vegetation. Our research contributes to the body of knowledge on coastal ecosystem dynamics to enable planning to achieve more effective conservation outcomes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing in Mangroves)
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Open AccessEditorial
Editorial for Special Issue “Remote Sensing for Target Object Detection and Identification”
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(1), 196; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010196 - 06 Jan 2020
Viewed by 309
Abstract
This special issue gathers fourteen papers focused on the application of a variety of target object detection and identification techniques for remotely-sensed data. These data are acquired by different types of sensors (both passive and active) and are located on various platforms, ranging [...] Read more.
This special issue gathers fourteen papers focused on the application of a variety of target object detection and identification techniques for remotely-sensed data. These data are acquired by different types of sensors (both passive and active) and are located on various platforms, ranging from satellites to unmanned aerial vehicles. This editorial provides an overview of the contributed papers, briefly presenting the technologies and algorithms employed as well as the related applications. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing for Target Object Detection and Identification)
Open AccessArticle
Monitoring River Basin Development and Variation in Water Resources in Transboundary Imjin River in North and South Korea Using Remote Sensing
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(1), 195; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010195 - 05 Jan 2020
Viewed by 502
Abstract
This paper presents methods of monitoring river basin development and water variability for the transboundary river in North and South Korea. River basin development, such as dams and water infrastructure in transboundary rivers, can be a potential factor of tensions between upstream and [...] Read more.
This paper presents methods of monitoring river basin development and water variability for the transboundary river in North and South Korea. River basin development, such as dams and water infrastructure in transboundary rivers, can be a potential factor of tensions between upstream and downstream countries since dams constructed upstream can adversely affect downstream riparians. However, because most of the information related to North Korea has been limited to the public, the information about dams constructed and their locations were inaccurate in many previous studies. In addition, water resources in transboundary rivers can be exploited as a political tool. Specifically, due to the unexpected water release from the Hwanggang Dam, upstream of the transboundary Imjin River in North and South Korea, six South Koreans died on 6 September 2009. The Imjin River can be used as a political tool by North Korea, and seven events were reported as water conflicts in the Imjin River from 2001 to 2016. In this paper, firstly, we have updated the information about the dams constructed over the Imjin River in North Korea using multi-temporal images with a high spatial resolution (15–30 cm) obtained from Google Earth. Secondly, we analyzed inter- and intra-water variability over the Hwanggang Reservoir using open-source images obtained from the Global Surface Water Explorer. We found a considerable change in water surface variability before and after 2008, which might result from the construction of the Hwanggang Dam. Thirdly, in order to further investigate intra-annual water variability, we present a method monitoring water storage changes of the Hwanggang Reservoir using the area-elevation curve (AEC), which was derived from multi-sensor Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) images (Sentinel-1A and -1B) and the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) Digital Elevation Model (DEM). Since many previous studies for estimating water storage change have depended on satellite altimetry dataset and optical images for deriving AEC, the method adopted in this study is the only application for such inaccessible areas since no altimetry ground track exists for the Hwanggang Reservoir and because clouds can block the study area for wet seasons. Moreover, this study has newly proven that unexpected water release can occur in dry seasons because the water storage in the Hwanggang Reservoir can be high enough to conduct a release that can be used as a geopolitical tool. Using our method, potential risks can be mitigated, not in response to a water release, but based on pre-event water storage changes in the Hwanggang Reservoir. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Geopolitics)
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Open AccessArticle
A Method for the Optimized Design of a Rain Gauge Network Combined with Satellite Remote Sensing Data
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(1), 194; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010194 - 05 Jan 2020
Viewed by 403
Abstract
A well-designed rain gauge network can provide precise and detailed rainfall data for earth science research; meanwhile, satellite precipitation data has been developed to generate more real spatial features, which provides new data support for the improvement of ground station network design methods. [...] Read more.
A well-designed rain gauge network can provide precise and detailed rainfall data for earth science research; meanwhile, satellite precipitation data has been developed to generate more real spatial features, which provides new data support for the improvement of ground station network design methods. In this paper, satellite precipitation data are introduced into the design of a rain gauge network and an optimized method for designing a rain gauge network that comprehensively considers the information content, spatiotemporality, and accuracy (ISA) of the data is proposed. After screening the potential stations, the average spatial information index of the rain gauge network, which is calculated from remote sensing data, is used to address the shortcomings of applying spatial information from single-use measurement data. Then, the greedy ranking algorithm is used to rank the order in which the rain gauges are added to the network. The results of the rain gauge network design in the upper reaches of the Chaobai river show that compared with two methods that do not consider spatiality or use only measured data to consider spatiality, the proposed method performs better in terms of the spatial layout and accuracy verification. This study provides new ideas and references for the design of hydrological station networks and explores the use of remote sensing data for the layout of ground-based station networks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing in Geology, Geomorphology and Hydrology)
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Open AccessArticle
Uncertainty Analysis of Remotely-Acquired Thermal Infrared Data to Extract the Thermal Properties of Active Lava Surfaces
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(1), 193; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010193 - 05 Jan 2020
Viewed by 379
Abstract
Using thermal infrared (TIR) data from multiple instruments and platforms for analysis of an entire active volcanic system is becoming more common with the increasing availability of new data. However, the accuracy and uncertainty associated with these combined datasets are poorly constrained over [...] Read more.
Using thermal infrared (TIR) data from multiple instruments and platforms for analysis of an entire active volcanic system is becoming more common with the increasing availability of new data. However, the accuracy and uncertainty associated with these combined datasets are poorly constrained over the full range of eruption temperatures and possible volcanic products. Here, four TIR datasets acquired over active lava surfaces are compared to quantify the uncertainty, accuracy, and variability in derived surface radiance, emissivity, and kinetic temperature. These data were acquired at Kīlauea volcano in Hawai’i, USA, in January/February 2017 and 2018. The analysis reveals that spatial resolution strongly limits the accuracy of the derived surface thermal properties, resulting in values that are significantly below the expected values for molten basaltic lava at its liquidus temperature. The surface radiance is ~2400% underestimated in the orbital data compared to only ~200% in ground-based data. As a result, the surface emissivity is overestimated and the kinetic temperature is underestimated by at least 30% and 200% in the airborne and orbital datasets, respectively. A thermal mixed pixel separation analysis is conducted to extract only the molten fraction within each pixel in an attempt to mitigate this complicating factor. This improved the orbital and airborne surface radiance values to within 15% of the expected values and the derived emissivity and kinetic temperature within 8% and 12%, respectively. It is, therefore, possible to use moderate spatial resolution TIR data to derive accurate and reliable emissivity and kinetic temperatures of a molten lava surface that are comparable to the higher resolution data from airborne and ground-based instruments. This approach, resulting in more accurate kinetic temperature and emissivity of the active surfaces, can improve estimates of flow hazards by greatly improving lava flow propagation models that rely on these data. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Calibration and Impact of BeiDou Satellite-Dependent Timing Group Delay Bias
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(1), 192; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010192 - 05 Jan 2020
Viewed by 305
Abstract
The accuracy of the timing group delay (TGD) transmitted in the broadcast ephemeris is an important factor that affects the service performance of a GNSS system. In this contribution, an apparent bias is found by comparing the orbit and clock difference using half-year [...] Read more.
The accuracy of the timing group delay (TGD) transmitted in the broadcast ephemeris is an important factor that affects the service performance of a GNSS system. In this contribution, an apparent bias is found by comparing the orbit and clock difference using half-year data of the BeiDou navigation satellite system (BDS) broadcast ephemeris and precise post-processed products. The bias differs at each satellite on each frequency and shows a general systematic difference between BDS-2 and BDS-3. We attribute this to the satellite-dependent TGD bias of the BDS broadcast ephemeris, which is subsequently calibrated. Moreover, to calibrate the bias independently, a network solution strategy is proposed based on 87 globally distributed multi-GNSS experiment (MGEX) stations spanning 25 weeks. The estimated bias shows good agreement with the values observed from the orbit and clock comparison. For the validation of the bias, we compared the signal-in-space range error (SISRE) performance with and without the TGD bias correction. The results show that the SISRE of the BDS improved from 0.71, 0.81, and 1.40 m to 0.64, 0.66, and 0.64 m in the B1I, B3I, and B1I/B3I frequencies. For BDS-3, the SISRE is well within 0.50 m after the bias correction. To further validate the bias, a week’s data were collected at 97 globally distributed MGEX stations. When the TGD bias is corrected, the root mean square (RMS) of single point positioning (SPP) can be improved by 5.6, 8.4, and 21.6% in the B1I, B3I, and B1I/B3I frequencies. Meanwhile, the SISRE and SPP assessment results also indicate that the TGD bias should be corrected by each satellite rather than only corrected between BDS-2 and BDS-3. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Cloud Removal with Fusion of High Resolution Optical and SAR Images Using Generative Adversarial Networks
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(1), 191; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010191 - 05 Jan 2020
Viewed by 487
Abstract
The existence of clouds is one of the main factors that contributes to missing information in optical remote sensing images, restricting their further applications for Earth observation, so how to reconstruct the missing information caused by clouds is of great concern. Inspired by [...] Read more.
The existence of clouds is one of the main factors that contributes to missing information in optical remote sensing images, restricting their further applications for Earth observation, so how to reconstruct the missing information caused by clouds is of great concern. Inspired by the image-to-image translation work based on convolutional neural network model and the heterogeneous information fusion thought, we propose a novel cloud removal method in this paper. The approach can be roughly divided into two steps: in the first step, a specially designed convolutional neural network (CNN) translates the synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images into simulated optical images in an object-to-object manner; in the second step, the simulated optical image, together with the SAR image and the optical image corrupted by clouds, is fused to reconstruct the corrupted area by a generative adversarial network (GAN) with a particular loss function. Between the first step and the second step, the contrast and luminance of the simulated optical image are randomly altered to make the model more robust. Two simulation experiments and one real-data experiment are conducted to confirm the effectiveness of the proposed method on Sentinel 1/2, GF 2/3 and airborne SAR/optical data. The results demonstrate that the proposed method outperforms state-of-the-art algorithms that also employ SAR images as auxiliary data. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing Image Processing)
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Open AccessArticle
Uncertainty of Vegetation Green-Up Date Estimated from Vegetation Indices Due to Snowmelt at Northern Middle and High Latitudes
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(1), 190; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010190 - 05 Jan 2020
Viewed by 392
Abstract
Vegetation green-up date (GUD), an important phenological characteristic, is usually estimated from time-series of satellite-based normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) data at regional and global scales. However, GUD estimates in seasonally snow-covered areas suffer from the effect of spring snowmelt on the NDVI [...] Read more.
Vegetation green-up date (GUD), an important phenological characteristic, is usually estimated from time-series of satellite-based normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) data at regional and global scales. However, GUD estimates in seasonally snow-covered areas suffer from the effect of spring snowmelt on the NDVI signal, hampering our realistic understanding of phenological responses to climate change. Recently, two snow-free vegetation indices were developed for GUD detection: the normalized difference phenology index (NDPI) and normalized difference greenness index (NDGI). Both were found to improve GUD detection in the presence of spring snowmelt. However, these indices were tested at several field phenological camera sites and carbon flux sites, and a detailed evaluation on their performances at the large spatial scale is still lacking, which limits their applications globally. In this study, we employed NDVI, NDPI, and NDGI to estimate GUD at northern middle and high latitudes (north of 40° N) and quantified the snowmelt-induced uncertainty of GUD estimations from the three vegetation indices (VIs) by considering the changes in VI values caused by snowmelt. Results showed that compared with NDVI, both NDPI and NDGI improve the accuracy of GUD estimation with smaller GUD uncertainty in the areas below 55° N, but at higher latitudes (55°N-70° N), all three indices exhibit substantially larger GUD uncertainty. Furthermore, selecting which vegetation index to use for GUD estimation depends on vegetation types. All three indices performed much better for deciduous forests, and NDPI performed especially well (5.1 days for GUD uncertainty). In the arid and semi-arid grasslands, GUD estimations from NDGI are more reliable (i.e., smaller uncertainty) than NDP-based GUD (e.g., GUD uncertainty values for NDGI vs. NDPI are 4.3 d vs. 7.2 d in Mongolia grassland and 6.7 d vs. 9.8 d in Central Asia grassland), whereas in American prairie, NDPI performs slightly better than NDGI (GUD uncertainty for NDPI vs. NDGI is 3.8 d vs. 4.7 d). In central and western Europe, reliable GUD estimations from NDPI and NDGI were acquired only in those years without snowfall before green-up. This study provides important insights into the application of, and uncertainty in, snow-free vegetation indices for GUD estimation at large spatial scales, particularly in areas with seasonal snow cover. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Vegetation Phenology)
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Open AccessArticle
Combination of Linear Regression Lines to Understand the Response of Sentinel-1 Dual Polarization SAR Data with Crop Phenology—Case Study in Miyazaki, Japan
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(1), 189; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010189 - 05 Jan 2020
Viewed by 335
Abstract
This study investigated the relationship between backscattering coefficients of a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and the four biophysical parameters of rice crops—plant height, green vegetation cover, leaf area index, and total dry biomass. A paddy rice field in Miyazaki, Japan was studied from [...] Read more.
This study investigated the relationship between backscattering coefficients of a synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and the four biophysical parameters of rice crops—plant height, green vegetation cover, leaf area index, and total dry biomass. A paddy rice field in Miyazaki, Japan was studied from April to July of 2018, which is the rice cultivation season. The SAR backscattering coefficients were provided by Sentinel-1 satellite. Backscattering coefficients of two polarization settings—VH (vertical transmitting, horizontal receiving) and VV (vertical transmitting, vertical receiving)—were investigated. Plant height, green vegetation cover, leaf area index, and total dry biomass were measured at ground level, on the same dates as satellite image acquisition. Polynomial regression lines indicated relationships between backscattering coefficients and plant biophysical parameters of the rice crop. The biophysical parameters had stronger relationship to VH than to VV polarization. A disadvantage of adopting polynomial regression equations is that the equation can have two biophysical parameter solutions for a particular backscattering coefficient value, which prevents simple conversion from backscattering coefficients to plant biophysical parameters. To overcome this disadvantage, the relationships between backscattering coefficients and the plant biophysical parameters were expressed using a combination of two linear regression lines, one line for the first sub-period and the other for the second sub-period during the entire cultivation period. Following this approach, all four plant biophysical parameters were accurately estimated from the SAR backscattering coefficient, especially with VH polarization, from the date of transplanting to about two months, until the mid-reproductive stage. However, backscattering coefficients saturate after two months from the transplanting, and became insensitive to the further developments in plant biophysical parameters. This research indicates that SAR can effectively and accurately monitor rice crop biophysical parameters, but only up to the mid reproductive stage. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing for Precision Agriculture)
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Open AccessArticle
CSA-MSO3DCNN: Multiscale Octave 3D CNN with Channel and Spatial Attention for Hyperspectral Image Classification
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(1), 188; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010188 - 05 Jan 2020
Viewed by 327
Abstract
3D convolutional neural networks (CNNs) have been demonstrated to be a powerful tool in hyperspectral images (HSIs) classification. However, using the conventional 3D CNNs to extract the spectral–spatial feature for HSIs results in too many parameters as HSIs have plenty of spatial redundancy. [...] Read more.
3D convolutional neural networks (CNNs) have been demonstrated to be a powerful tool in hyperspectral images (HSIs) classification. However, using the conventional 3D CNNs to extract the spectral–spatial feature for HSIs results in too many parameters as HSIs have plenty of spatial redundancy. To address this issue, in this paper, we first design multiscale convolution to extract the contextual feature of different scales for HSIs and then propose to employ the octave 3D CNN which factorizes the mixed feature maps by their frequency to replace the normal 3D CNN in order to reduce the spatial redundancy and enlarge the receptive field. To further explore the discriminative features, a channel attention module and a spatial attention module are adopted to optimize the feature maps and improve the classification performance. The experiments on four hyperspectral image data sets demonstrate that the proposed method outperforms other state-of-the-art deep learning methods. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Remote Sensing Image Processing)
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Regional-Scale Forest Mapping over Fragmented Landscapes Using Global Forest Products and Landsat Time Series Classification
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(1), 187; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010187 - 05 Jan 2020
Viewed by 568
Abstract
Satellite imagery of 25–30 m spatial resolution has been recognized as an effective tool for monitoring the spatial and temporal dynamics of forest cover at different scales. However, the precise mapping of forest cover over fragmented landscapes is complicated and requires special consideration. [...] Read more.
Satellite imagery of 25–30 m spatial resolution has been recognized as an effective tool for monitoring the spatial and temporal dynamics of forest cover at different scales. However, the precise mapping of forest cover over fragmented landscapes is complicated and requires special consideration. We have evaluated the performance of four global forest products of 25–30 m spatial resolution within three flatland subregions of Ukraine that have different forest cover patterns. We have explored the relationship between tree cover extracted from the global forest change (GFC) and relative stocking density of forest stands and justified the use of a 40% tree cover threshold for mapping forest in flatland Ukraine. In contrast, the canopy cover threshold for the analogous product Landsat tree cover continuous fields (LTCCF) is found to be 25%. Analysis of the global forest products, including discrete forest masks Global PALSAR-2/PALSAR Forest/Non-Forest Map (JAXA FNF) and GlobeLand30, has revealed a major misclassification of forested areas under severe fragmentation patterns of landscapes. The study also examined the effectiveness of forest mapping over fragmented landscapes using dense time series of Landsat images. We collected 1548 scenes of Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) for the period 2014–2016 and composited them into cloudless mosaics for the following four seasons: yearly, summer, autumn, and April–October. The classification of images was performed in Google Earth Engine (GEE) Application Programming Interface (API) using random forest (RF) classifier. As a result, 30 m spatial resolution forest mask for flatland of Ukraine was created. The user’s and producer’s accuracy were estimated to be 0.910 ± 0.015 and 0.880 ± 0.018, respectively. The total forest area for the flatland Ukraine is 9440.5 ± 239.4 thousand hectares, which is 3% higher than official data. In general, we conclude that the Landsat-derived forest mask performs well over fragmented landscapes if forest cover of the territory is higher than 10–15%. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing to Assess Canopy Structure and Function)
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Open AccessArticle
Estimating Forest Stock Volume in Hunan Province, China, by Integrating In Situ Plot Data, Sentinel-2 Images, and Linear and Machine Learning Regression Models
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(1), 186; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010186 - 04 Jan 2020
Viewed by 547
Abstract
The forest stock volume (FSV) is one of the key indicators in forestry resource assessments on local, regional, and national scales. To date, scaling up in situ plot-scale measurements across landscapes is still a great challenge in the estimation of FSVs. In this [...] Read more.
The forest stock volume (FSV) is one of the key indicators in forestry resource assessments on local, regional, and national scales. To date, scaling up in situ plot-scale measurements across landscapes is still a great challenge in the estimation of FSVs. In this study, Sentinel-2 imagery, the Google Earth Engine (GEE) cloud computing platform, three base station joint differential positioning technology (TBSJDPT), and three algorithms were used to build an FSV model for forests located in Hunan Province, southern China. The GEE cloud computing platform was used to extract the imagery variables from the Sentinel-2 imagery pixels. The TBSJDPT was put forward and used to provide high-precision positions of the sample plot data. The random forests (RF), support vector regression (SVR), and multiple linear regression (MLR) algorithms were used to estimate the FSV. For each pixel, 24 variables were extracted from the Sentinel-2 images taken in 2017 and 2018. The RF model performed the best in both the training phase (i.e., R2 = 0.91, RMSE = 35.13 m3 ha−1, n = 321) and in the test phase (i.e., R2 = 0.58, RMSE = 65.03 m3 ha−1, and n = 138). This model was followed by the SVR model (R2 = 0.54, RMSE = 65.60 m3 ha−1, n = 321 in training; R2 = 0.54, RMSE = 66.00 m3 ha−1, n = 138 in testing), which was slightly better than the MLR model (R2 = 0.38, RMSE = 75.74 m3 ha−1, and n = 321 in training; R2 = 0.49, RMSE = 70.22 m3 ha−1, and n = 138 in testing) in both the training phase and test phase. The best predictive band was Red-Edge 1 (B5), which performed well both in the machine learning methods and in the MLR method. The Blue band (B2), Green band (B3), Red band (B4), SWIR2 band (B12), and vegetation indices (TCW, NDVI_B5, and TCB) were used in the machine learning models, and only one vegetation index (MSI) was used in the MLR model. We mapped the FSV distribution in Hunan Province (3.50 × 108 m3) based on the RF model; it reached a total accuracy of 63.87% compared with the official forest report in 2017 (5.48 × 108 m3). The results from this study will help develop and improve satellite-based methods to estimate FSVs on local, regional and national scales. Full article
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Remote Sensing)
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Open AccessArticle
Novel Combined Spectral Indices Derived from Hyperspectral and Laser-Induced Fluorescence LiDAR Spectra for Leaf Nitrogen Contents Estimation of Rice
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(1), 185; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010185 - 04 Jan 2020
Viewed by 357
Abstract
Spectra of reflectance (Sr) and fluorescence (Sf) are significant for crop monitoring and ecological environment research, and can be used to indicate the leaf nitrogen content (LNC) of crops indirectly. The aim of this work is to [...] Read more.
Spectra of reflectance (Sr) and fluorescence (Sf) are significant for crop monitoring and ecological environment research, and can be used to indicate the leaf nitrogen content (LNC) of crops indirectly. The aim of this work is to use the Sr-Sf features obtained with hyperspectral and laser-induced fluorescence LiDAR (HSL, LIFL) systems to construct novel combined spectral indices (NCIH-F) for multi-year rice LNC estimation. The NCIH-F is in a form of FWs* Φ + GSIs* Φ , where Φ is the Sr-Sf features, and FWs and GSIs are the feature weights and global sensitive indices for each characteristic band. In this study, the characteristic bands were chosen in different ways. Firstly, the Sr-Sf characteristics which can be the intensity or derivative variables of spectra in 685 and 740 nm, have been assigned as the Φ value in NCIH-F formula. Simultaneously, the photochemical reflectance index (PRI) formed with 531 and 570 nm was modified based on a variant spectral index, called PRIfraction, with the Sf intensity in 740 nm, and then compared its potential with NCIH-F on LNC estimation. During the above analysis, both NCIH-F and PRIfraction values were utilized to model rice LNC based on the artificial neural networks (ANNs) method. Subsequently, four prior bands were selected, respectively, with high FW and GSI values as the ANNs inputs for rice LNC estimation. Results show that FW- and GSI-based NCIH-F are closely related to rice LNC, and the performance of previous spectral indices used for LNC estimation can be greatly improved by multiplying their FWs and GSIs. Thus, it can be included that the FW- and GSI-based NCIH-F constitutes an efficient and reliable constructed form combining HSL (Sr) and LIFL (Sf) data together for rice LNC estimation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing for Biophysical and Biochemical Properties of Crops)
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Open AccessTechnical Note
First Comparisons of Surface Temperature Estimations between ECOSTRESS, ASTER and Landsat 8 over Italian Volcanic and Geothermal Areas
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(1), 184; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010184 - 04 Jan 2020
Viewed by 332
Abstract
The ECO System Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) is a new space mission developed by NASA-JPL which launched on July 2018. It includes a multispectral thermal infrared radiometer that measures the radiances in five spectral channels between 8 and 12 [...] Read more.
The ECO System Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) is a new space mission developed by NASA-JPL which launched on July 2018. It includes a multispectral thermal infrared radiometer that measures the radiances in five spectral channels between 8 and 12 μm. The primary goal of the mission is to study how plants use water by measuring their temperature from the vantage point of the International Space Station. However, as ECOSTRESS retrieves the surface temperature, the data can be used to measure other heat-related phenomena, such as heat waves, volcanic eruptions, and fires. We have cross-compared the temperatures obtained by ECOSTRESS, the Advanced Spaceborne Thermal Emission and Reflectance radiometer (ASTER) and the Landsat 8 Thermal InfraRed Sensor (TIRS) in areas where thermal anomalies are present. The use of ECOSTRESS for temperature analysis as well as ASTER and Landsat 8 offers the possibility of expanding the availability of satellite thermal data with very high spatial and temporal resolutions. The Temperature and Emissivity Separation (TES) algorithm was used to retrieve surface temperatures from the ECOSTRESS and ASTER data, while the single-channel algorithm was used to retrieve surface temperatures from the Landsat 8 data. Atmospheric effects in the data were removed using the moderate resolution atmospheric transmission (MODTRAN) radiative transfer model driven with vertical atmospheric profiles collected by the University of Wyoming. The test sites used in this study are the active Italian volcanoes and the Parco delle Biancane geothermal area (Italy). In order to test and quantify the difference between the temperatures retrieved by the three spaceborne sensors, a set of coincident imagery was acquired and used for cross comparison. Preliminary statistical analyses show a very good agreement in terms of correlation and mean values among sensors over the test areas. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proximal and Remote Sensing in the MWIR and LWIR Spectral Range)
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Open AccessArticle
Monitoring Surface Soil Moisture Content over the Vegetated Area by Integrating Optical and SAR Satellite Observations in the Permafrost Region of Tibetan Plateau
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(1), 183; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010183 - 03 Jan 2020
Viewed by 433
Abstract
Surface soil moisture (SSM), the average water content of surface soil (up to 5 cm depth), plays a key role in the energy exchange within the ecosystem. We estimated SSM in areas with vegetation cover (grassland) by combining microwave and optical satellite measurements [...] Read more.
Surface soil moisture (SSM), the average water content of surface soil (up to 5 cm depth), plays a key role in the energy exchange within the ecosystem. We estimated SSM in areas with vegetation cover (grassland) by combining microwave and optical satellite measurements in the central Tibetan Plateau (TP) in 2015. We exploited TERRA moderate resolution imaging spectroradiometer (MODIS) and Sentinel-1A synthetic aperture radar (SAR) observations to estimate SSM through a simplified water-cloud model (sWCM). This model considers the impact of vegetation water content (VWC) to SSM retrieval by integrating the vegetation index (VI), the normalized difference water index (NDWI), or the normalized difference infrared index (NDII). Sentinel-1 SAR C-band backscattering coefficients, incidence angle, and NDWI/NDII were assimilated in the sWCM to monitor SSM. The soil moisture and temperature monitoring network on the central TP (CTP-SMTMN) measures SSM within the study area, and ground measurements were applied to train and validate the model. Via the proposed methods, we estimated the SSM in vegetated area with an R2 of 0.43 and a ubRMSE of 0.06 m3/m3 when integrating the NDWI and with an R2 of 0.45 and a ubRMSE of 0.06 m3/m3 when integrating the NDII. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Satellite Soil Moisture Validation and Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Real-Time Detection of Ground Objects Based on Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Remote Sensing with Deep Learning: Application in Excavator Detection for Pipeline Safety
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(1), 182; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010182 - 03 Jan 2020
Viewed by 385
Abstract
Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) remote sensing and deep learning provide a practical approach to object detection. However, most of the current approaches for processing UAV remote-sensing data cannot carry out object detection in real time for emergencies, such as firefighting. This study proposes [...] Read more.
Unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) remote sensing and deep learning provide a practical approach to object detection. However, most of the current approaches for processing UAV remote-sensing data cannot carry out object detection in real time for emergencies, such as firefighting. This study proposes a new approach for integrating UAV remote sensing and deep learning for the real-time detection of ground objects. Excavators, which usually threaten pipeline safety, are selected as the target object. A widely used deep-learning algorithm, namely You Only Look Once V3, is first used to train the excavator detection model on a workstation and then deployed on an embedded board that is carried by a UAV. The recall rate of the trained excavator detection model is 99.4%, demonstrating that the trained model has a very high accuracy. Then, the UAV for an excavator detection system (UAV-ED) is further constructed for operational application. UAV-ED is composed of a UAV Control Module, a UAV Module, and a Warning Module. A UAV experiment with different scenarios was conducted to evaluate the performance of the UAV-ED. The whole process from the UAV observation of an excavator to the Warning Module (350 km away from the testing area) receiving the detection results only lasted about 1.15 s. Thus, the UAV-ED system has good performance and would benefit the management of pipeline safety. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Trends in UAV Remote Sensing Applications)
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Open AccessArticle
Estimation of Surface Downward Shortwave Radiation over China from Himawari-8 AHI Data Based on Random Forest
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(1), 181; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010181 - 03 Jan 2020
Viewed by 343
Abstract
Downward shortwave radiation (RS) drives many processes related to atmosphere–surface interactions and has great influence on the earth’s climate system. However, ground-measured RS is still insufficient to represent the land surface, so it is still critical to generate high [...] Read more.
Downward shortwave radiation (RS) drives many processes related to atmosphere–surface interactions and has great influence on the earth’s climate system. However, ground-measured RS is still insufficient to represent the land surface, so it is still critical to generate high accuracy and spatially continuous RS data. This study tries to apply the random forest (RF) method to estimate the RS from the Himawari-8 Advanced Himawari Imager (AHI) data from February to May 2016 with a two-km spatial resolution and a one-day temporal resolution. The ground-measured RS at 86 stations of the Climate Data Center of the Chinese Meteorological Administration (CDC/CMA) are collected to evaluate the estimated RS data from the RF method. The evaluation results indicate that the RF method is capable of estimating the RS well at both the daily and monthly time scales. For the daily time scale, the evaluation results based on validation data show an overall R value of 0.92, a root mean square error (RMSE) value of 35.38 (18.40%) Wm−2, and a mean bias error (MBE) value of 0.01 (0.01%) Wm−2. For the estimated monthly RS, the overall R was 0.99, the RMSE was 7.74 (4.09%) Wm−2, and the MBE was 0.03 (0.02%) Wm−2 at the selected stations. The comparison between the estimated RS data over China and the Clouds and Earth’s Radiant Energy System (CERES) Energy Balanced and Filled (EBAF) RS dataset was also conducted in this study. The comparison results indicate that the RS estimates from the RF method have comparable accuracy with the CERES-EBAF RS data over China but provide higher spatial and temporal resolution. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Remote Sensing of Land Surface Radiation Budget)
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Open AccessArticle
Validation of a Multilag Estimator on NJU-CPOL and a Hybrid Approach for Improving Polarimetric Radar Data Quality
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(1), 180; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010180 - 03 Jan 2020
Viewed by 327
Abstract
For the estimation of weak echo with low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), a multilag estimator is developed, which has better performance than the conventional method. The performance of the multilag estimator is examined by theoretical analysis, simulated radar data and some specific observed data [...] Read more.
For the estimation of weak echo with low signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), a multilag estimator is developed, which has better performance than the conventional method. The performance of the multilag estimator is examined by theoretical analysis, simulated radar data and some specific observed data collected by a C-band polarimetric radar in previous research. In this paper, the multilag estimator is implemented and verified for Nanjing University C-band polarimetric Doppler weather radar (NJU-CPOL) during the Observation, Prediction and Analysis of Severe Convection of China (OPACC) field campaign in 2014. The implementation results are also compared with theoretical analysis, including the estimation of signal power, spectrum width, differential reflectivity, and copolar correlation coefficient. The results show that the improvement of the multilag estimator is little for signal power and differential reflectivity, but significant for spectrum width and copolar correlation coefficient when spectrum width is less than 2 ms−1, which implies a large correlation time scale. However, there are obvious biases from the multilag estimator in the regions with large spectrum width. Based on the performance analysis, a hybrid method is thus introduced and examined through NJU-CPOL observations. All lags including lag 0 of autocorrelation function (ACF) are used for moment estimation in this algorithm according to the maximum usable lag number. A case study shows that this hybrid method can improve moment estimation compared to both conventional estimator and multilag estimator, especially for weak weather echoes. The improvement will be significant if SNR decreases or the biases of noise power in the conventional estimator increase. In addition, this hybrid method is easy to implement on both operational and non-operational radars. It is also expected that the proposed hybrid method will have a better performance if applied to S-band polarimetric radars which have twice the maximum useable lags in the same conditions with C-band radars. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Accurate Simulation of Ice and Snow Runoff for the Mountainous Terrain of the Kunlun Mountains, China
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(1), 179; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010179 - 03 Jan 2020
Viewed by 344
Abstract
While mountain runoff provides great potential for the development and life quality of downstream populations, it also frequently causes seasonal disasters. The accurate modeling of hydrological processes in mountainous areas, as well as the amount of meltwater from ice and snow, is of [...] Read more.
While mountain runoff provides great potential for the development and life quality of downstream populations, it also frequently causes seasonal disasters. The accurate modeling of hydrological processes in mountainous areas, as well as the amount of meltwater from ice and snow, is of great significance for the local sustainable development, hydropower regulations, and disaster prevention. In this study, an improved model, the Soil Water Assessment Tool with added ice-melt module (SWATAI) was developed based on the Soil Water Assessment Tool (SWAT), a semi-distributed hydrological model, to simulate ice and snow runoff. A temperature condition used to determine precipitation types has been added in the SWATAI model, along with an elevation threshold and an accumulative daily temperature threshold for ice melt, making it more consistent with the runoff process of ice and snow. As a supplementary reference, the comparison between the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) and the quantity of meltwater were conducted to verify the simulation results and assess the impact of meltwater on the ecology. Through these modifications, the accuracy of the daily flow simulation results has been considerably improved, and the contribution rate of ice and snow melt to the river discharge calculated by the model increased by 18.73%. The simulation comparison of the flooding process revealed that the accuracy of the simulated peak flood value by the SWATAI was 77.65% higher than that of the SWAT, and the temporal accuracy was 82.93% higher. The correlation between the meltwater calculated by the SWATAI and the NDVI has also improved significantly. This improved model could simulate the flooding processes with high temporal resolution in alpine regions. The simulation results could provide technical support for economic benefits and reasonable reference for flood prevention. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
DEM Extraction from ALS Point Clouds in Forest Areas via Graph Convolution Network
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(1), 178; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010178 - 03 Jan 2020
Viewed by 329
Abstract
It is difficult to extract a digital elevation model (DEM) from an airborne laser scanning (ALS) point cloud in a forest area because of the irregular and uneven distribution of ground and vegetation points. Machine learning, especially deep learning methods, has shown powerful [...] Read more.
It is difficult to extract a digital elevation model (DEM) from an airborne laser scanning (ALS) point cloud in a forest area because of the irregular and uneven distribution of ground and vegetation points. Machine learning, especially deep learning methods, has shown powerful feature extraction in accomplishing point cloud classification. However, most of the existing deep learning frameworks, such as PointNet, dynamic graph convolutional neural network (DGCNN), and SparseConvNet, cannot consider the particularity of ALS point clouds. For large-scene laser point clouds, the current data preprocessing methods are mostly based on random sampling, which is not suitable for DEM extraction tasks. In this study, we propose a novel data sampling algorithm for the data preparation of patch-based training and classification named T-Sampling. T-Sampling uses the set of the lowest points in a certain area as basic points with other points added to supplement it, which can guarantee the integrity of the terrain in the sampling area. In the learning part, we propose a new convolution model based on terrain named Tin-EdgeConv that fully considers the spatial relationship between ground and non-ground points when constructing a directed graph. We design a new network based on Tin-EdgeConv to extract local features and use PointNet architecture to extract global context information. Finally, we combine this information effectively with a designed attention fusion module. These aspects are important in achieving high classification accuracy. We evaluate the proposed method by using large-scale data from forest areas. Results show that our method is more accurate than existing algorithms. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Optimized Lithological Mapping from Multispectral and Hyperspectral Remote Sensing Images Using Fused Multi-Classifiers
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(1), 177; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010177 - 03 Jan 2020
Viewed by 302
Abstract
Most available studies in lithological mapping using spaceborne multispectral and hyperspectral remote sensing images employ different classification and spectral matching algorithms for performing this task; however, our experiment reveals that no single algorithm renders satisfactory results. Therefore, a new approach based on an [...] Read more.
Most available studies in lithological mapping using spaceborne multispectral and hyperspectral remote sensing images employ different classification and spectral matching algorithms for performing this task; however, our experiment reveals that no single algorithm renders satisfactory results. Therefore, a new approach based on an ensemble of classifiers is presented for lithological mapping using remote sensing images in this paper, which returns enhanced accuracy. The proposed method uses a weighted pooling approach for lithological mapping at each pixel level using the agreement of the class accuracy, overall accuracy and kappa coefficient from the multi-classifiers of an image. The technique is implemented in four steps; (1) classification images are generated using a variety of classifiers; (2) accuracy assessments are performed for each class, overall classification and estimation of kappa coefficient for every classifier; (3) an overall within-class accuracy index is estimated by weighting class accuracy, overall accuracy and kappa coefficient for each class and every classifier; (4) finally each pixel is assigned to a class for which it has the highest overall within-class accuracy index amongst all classes in all classifiers. To demonstrate the strength of the developed approach, four supervised classifiers (minimum distance (MD), spectral angle mapper (SAM), spectral information divergence (SID), support vector machine (SVM)) are used on one hyperspectral image (Hyperion) and two multispectral images (ASTER, Landsat 8-OLI) for mapping lithological units of the Udaipur area, Rajasthan, western India. The method is found significantly effective in increasing the accuracy in lithological mapping. Full article
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Open AccessLetter
Numerical Focusing of a Wide-Field-Angle Earth Radiation Budget Imager Using an Artificial Neural Network
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(1), 176; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010176 - 03 Jan 2020
Viewed by 362
Abstract
Narrow field-of-view scanning thermistor bolometer radiometers have traditionally been used to monitor the earth’s radiant energy budget from low earth orbit (LEO). Such instruments use a combination of cross-path scanning and along-path spacecraft motion to obtain a patchwork of punctual observations which are [...] Read more.
Narrow field-of-view scanning thermistor bolometer radiometers have traditionally been used to monitor the earth’s radiant energy budget from low earth orbit (LEO). Such instruments use a combination of cross-path scanning and along-path spacecraft motion to obtain a patchwork of punctual observations which are ultimately assembled into a mosaic. Monitoring has also been achieved using non-scanning instruments operating in a push-broom mode in LOE and imagers operating in geostationary orbit. The current contribution considers a fourth possibility, that of an imager operating in LEO. The system under consideration consists of a Ritchey-Chrétien telescope illuminating a plane two-dimensional microbolometer array. At large field angles, the focal length of the candidate instrument is field-angle dependent, resulting in a blurred image in the readout plane. Presented is a full-field focusing algorithm based on an artificial neural network (ANN). Absorbed power distributions on the microbolometer array produced by discretized scenes are obtained using a high-fidelity Monte Carlo ray-trace (MCRT) model of the imager. The resulting readout array/scene pairs are then used to train an ANN. We demonstrate that a properly trained ANN can be used to convert the readout power distribution into an accurate image of the corresponding discretized scene. This opens the possibility of using an ANN based on a high-fidelity imager model for numerical focusing of an actual imager. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Correction of Remotely Sensed Imagery)
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Open AccessArticle
Distribution Consistency Loss for Large-Scale Remote Sensing Image Retrieval
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(1), 175; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010175 - 03 Jan 2020
Viewed by 309
Abstract
Remote sensing images are featured by massiveness, diversity and complexity. These features put forward higher requirements for the speed and accuracy of remote sensing image retrieval. The extraction method plays a key role in retrieving remote sensing images. Deep metric learning (DML) captures [...] Read more.
Remote sensing images are featured by massiveness, diversity and complexity. These features put forward higher requirements for the speed and accuracy of remote sensing image retrieval. The extraction method plays a key role in retrieving remote sensing images. Deep metric learning (DML) captures the semantic similarity information between data points by learning embedding in vector space. However, due to the uneven distribution of sample data in remote sensing image datasets, the pair-based loss currently used in DML is not suitable. To improve this, we propose a novel distribution consistency loss to solve this problem. First, we define a new way to mine samples by selecting five in-class hard samples and five inter-class hard samples to form an informative set. This method can make the network extract more useful information in a short time. Secondly, in order to avoid inaccurate feature extraction due to sample imbalance, we assign dynamic weight to the positive samples according to the ratio of the number of hard samples and easy samples in the class, and name the loss caused by the positive sample as the sample balance loss. We combine the sample balance of the positive samples with the ranking consistency of the negative samples to form our distribution consistency loss. Finally, we built an end-to-end fine-tuning network suitable for remote sensing image retrieval. We display comprehensive experimental results drawing on three remote sensing image datasets that are publicly available and show that our method achieves the state-of-the-art performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Content-Based Remote Sensing Image Retrieval)
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Open AccessArticle
Geo-Object-Based Land Cover Map Update for High-Spatial-Resolution Remote Sensing Images via Change Detection and Label Transfer
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(1), 174; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010174 - 03 Jan 2020
Viewed by 349
Abstract
Land cover (LC) information plays an important role in different geoscience applications such as land resources and ecological environment monitoring. Enhancing the automation degree of LC classification and updating at a fine scale by remote sensing has become a key problem, as the [...] Read more.
Land cover (LC) information plays an important role in different geoscience applications such as land resources and ecological environment monitoring. Enhancing the automation degree of LC classification and updating at a fine scale by remote sensing has become a key problem, as the capability of remote sensing data acquisition is constantly being improved in terms of spatial and temporal resolution. However, the present methods of generating LC information are relatively inefficient, in terms of manually selecting training samples among multitemporal observations, which is becoming the bottleneck of application-oriented LC mapping. Thus, the objectives of this study are to speed up the efficiency of LC information acquisition and update. This study proposes a rapid LC map updating approach at a geo-object scale for high-spatial-resolution (HSR) remote sensing. The challenge is to develop methodologies for quickly sampling. Hence, the core step of our proposed methodology is an automatic method of collecting samples from historical LC maps through combining change detection and label transfer. A data set with Chinese Gaofen-2 (GF-2) HSR satellite images is utilized to evaluate the effectiveness of our method for multitemporal updating of LC maps. Prior labels in a historical LC map are certified to be effective in a LC updating task, which contributes to improve the effectiveness of the LC map update by automatically generating a number of training samples for supervised classification. The experimental outcomes demonstrate that the proposed method enhances the automation degree of LC map updating and allows for geo-object-based up-to-date LC mapping with high accuracy. The results indicate that the proposed method boosts the ability of automatic update of LC map, and greatly reduces the complexity of visual sample acquisition. Furthermore, the accuracy of LC type and the fineness of polygon boundaries in the updated LC maps effectively reflect the characteristics of geo-object changes on the ground surface, which makes the proposed method suitable for many applications requiring refined LC maps. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Understanding Tree-to-Tree Variations in Stone Pine (Pinus pinea L.) Cone Production Using Terrestrial Laser Scanner
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(1), 173; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010173 - 03 Jan 2020
Viewed by 364
Abstract
Kernels found in stone pinecones are of great economic value, often surpassing timber income for most forest owners. Visually evaluating cone production on standing trees is challenging since the cones are located in the sun-exposed part of the crown, and covered by two [...] Read more.
Kernels found in stone pinecones are of great economic value, often surpassing timber income for most forest owners. Visually evaluating cone production on standing trees is challenging since the cones are located in the sun-exposed part of the crown, and covered by two vegetative shoots. Very few studies were carried out in evaluating how new remote sensing technologies such as terrestrial laser scanners (TLS) can be used in assessing cone production, or in trying to explain the tree-to-tree variability within a given stand. Using data from 129 trees in 26 plots located in the Spanish Northern Plateau, the gain observed by using TLS data when compared to traditional inventory data in predicting the presence, the number, and the average weight of the cones in an individual tree was evaluated. The models using TLS-derived metrics consistently showed better fit statistics, when compared to models using traditional inventory data pertaining to site and tree levels. Crown dimensions such as projected crown area and crown volume, crown density, and crown asymmetry were the key TLS-derived drivers in understanding the variability in inter-tree cone production. These results underline the importance of crown characteristics in assessing cone production in stone pine. Moreover, as cone production (number of cones and average weight) is higher in crowns with lower density, the use of crown pruning, abandoned over 30 years ago, might be the key to increasing production in combination with stand density management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue 3D Forest Structure Observation)
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Open AccessFeature PaperLetter
A Sensitivity Study of the 4.8 µm Carbon Dioxide Absorption Band in the MWIR Spectral Range
Remote Sens. 2020, 12(1), 172; https://doi.org/10.3390/rs12010172 - 03 Jan 2020
Viewed by 360
Abstract
The measurements of gas concentrations in the atmosphere are recently developed thanks to the availability of gases absorbing spectral channels in space sensors and strictly depending on the instrument performances. In particular, measuring the sources of carbon dioxide is of high interest to [...] Read more.
The measurements of gas concentrations in the atmosphere are recently developed thanks to the availability of gases absorbing spectral channels in space sensors and strictly depending on the instrument performances. In particular, measuring the sources of carbon dioxide is of high interest to know the distribution, both spatial and vertical, of this greenhouse gas and quantify the natural/anthropogenic sources. The present study aims to understand the sensitivity of the CO2 absorption band at 4.8 µm to possibly detect and measure the spatial distribution of emissions from point sources (i.e., degassing volcanic plumes, fires, and industrial emissions). With the aim to define the characteristics of future multispectral imaging space radiometers, the performance of the CO2 4.8 µm absorption band was investigated. Simulations of the “Top of Atmosphere” (TOA) radiance have been performed by using real input data to reproduce realistic scenarios on a volcanic high elevation point source (>2 km): actual atmospheric background of CO2 (~400 ppm) and vertical atmospheric profiles of pressure, temperature, and humidity obtained from probe balloons. The sensitivity of the channel to the CO2 concentration has been analyzed also varying surface temperatures as environmental conditions from standard to high temperature. Furthermore, response functions of operational imaging sensors in the middle wave infrared spectral region were used. The channel width values of 0.15 µm and 0.30 µm were tested in order to find changes in the gas concentration. Simulations provide results about the sensitivity necessary to appreciate carbon dioxide concentration changes considering a target variation of 10 ppm in gas column concentration. Moreover, the results show the strong dependence of at-sensor radiance on the surface temperature: radiances sharply increase, from 1 Wm−2sr−1µm−1 (in the “standard condition”) to >1200 Wm−2sr−1µm−1 (in the warmest case) when temperatures increase from 300 to 1000 K. The highest sensitivity has been obtained considering the channel width equal to 0.15 µm with noise equivalent delta temperature (NEDT) values in the range from 0.045 to 0.56 K at surface temperatures ranging from 300 to 1000 K. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Proximal and Remote Sensing in the MWIR and LWIR Spectral Range)
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