The monitoring of crops is of vital importance for food and environmental security in a global and European context. The main goal of this study was to assess the crop mapping performance provided by the 100 m spatial resolution of PROBA-V compared to coarser resolution data (e.g., PROBA-V at 300 m) for a 2250 km2
test site in Bulgaria. The focus was on winter and summer crop mapping with three to five classes. For classification, single- and multi-date spectral data were used as well as NDVI time series. Our results demonstrate that crop identification using 100 m PROBA-V data performed significantly better in all experiments compared to the PROBA-V 300 m data. PROBA-V multispectral imagery, acquired in spring (March) was the most appropriate for winter crop identification, while satellite data acquired in summer (July) was superior for summer crop identification. The classification accuracy from PROBA-V 100 m compared to PROBA-V 300 m was improved by 5.8% to 14.8% depending on crop type. Stacked multi-date satellite images with three to four images gave overall classification accuracies of 74%–77% (PROBA-V 100 m data) and 66%–70% (PROBA-V 300 m data) with four classes (wheat, rapeseed, maize, and sunflower). This demonstrates that three to four image acquisitions, well distributed over the growing season, capture most of the spectral and temporal variability in our test site. Regarding the PROBA-V NDVI time series, useful results were only obtained if crops were grouped into two broader crop type classes (summer and winter crops). Mapping accuracies decreased significantly when mapping more classes. Again, a positive impact of the increased spatial resolution was noted. Together, the findings demonstrate the positive effect of the 100 m resolution PROBA-V data compared to the 300 m for crop mapping. This has important implications for future data provision and strengthens the arguments for a second generation of this mission originally designed solely as a “gap-filler mission”.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited