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Remote Sens. 2015, 7(8), 9705-9726;

Identification of Forested Landslides Using LiDar Data, Object-based Image Analysis, and Machine Learning Algorithms

Faculty of Information Engineering, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China
Faculty of Computer Science and Hubei Key Laboratory of Intelligent Geo-Information Processing, China University of Geosciences, Wuhan 430074, China
Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC), University of Twente, 7500 Enschede, The Netherlands
Institute for Remote Sensing Method, China Aero Geophysical Survey and Remote Sensing Center for Land and Resources, Beijing 100083, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Norman Kerle and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 25 April 2015 / Revised: 13 July 2015 / Accepted: 20 July 2015 / Published: 30 July 2015
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For identification of forested landslides, most studies focus on knowledge-based and pixel-based analysis (PBA) of LiDar data, while few studies have examined (semi-) automated methods and object-based image analysis (OBIA). Moreover, most of them are focused on soil-covered areas with gentle hillslopes. In bedrock-covered mountains with steep and rugged terrain, it is so difficult to identify landslides that there is currently no research on whether combining semi-automated methods and OBIA with only LiDar derivatives could be more effective. In this study, a semi-automatic object-based landslide identification approach was developed and implemented in a forested area, the Three Gorges of China. Comparisons of OBIA and PBA, two different machine learning algorithms and their respective sensitivity to feature selection (FS), were first investigated. Based on the classification result, the landslide inventory was finally obtained according to (1) inclusion of holes encircled by the landslide body; (2) removal of isolated segments, and (3) delineation of closed envelope curves for landslide objects by manual digitizing operation. The proposed method achieved the following: (1) the filter features of surface roughness were first applied for calculating object features, and proved useful; (2) FS improved classification accuracy and reduced features; (3) the random forest algorithm achieved higher accuracy and was less sensitive to FS than a support vector machine; (4) compared to PBA, OBIA was more sensitive to FS, remarkably reduced computing time, and depicted more contiguous terrain segments; (5) based on the classification result with an overall accuracy of 89.11% ± 0.03%, the obtained inventory map was consistent with the referenced landslide inventory map, with a position mismatch value of 9%. The outlined approach would be helpful for forested landslide identification in steep and rugged terrain. View Full-Text
Keywords: landslide inventory; LiDar; object-based image analysis; machine learning; the Three Gorges landslide inventory; LiDar; object-based image analysis; machine learning; the Three Gorges

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Li, X.; Cheng, X.; Chen, W.; Chen, G.; Liu, S. Identification of Forested Landslides Using LiDar Data, Object-based Image Analysis, and Machine Learning Algorithms. Remote Sens. 2015, 7, 9705-9726.

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