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Open AccessTechnical Note

Land Cover Mapping in Southwestern China Using the HC-MMK Approach

Institute of Mountain Hazards and Environment, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Chengdu 610041, China
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
College of Earth Sciences, Chengdu University of Technology, Chengdu 610059, China
School of Geographic and Environmental Sciences, Guizhou Normal University, Guiyang 550001, China
College of Resources and Environment, Chengdu University of Information Technology, Chengdu 610225, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Academic Editors: Ioannis Gitas and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Remote Sens. 2016, 8(4), 305;
Received: 24 December 2015 / Revised: 9 March 2016 / Accepted: 29 March 2016 / Published: 7 April 2016
PDF [12022 KB, uploaded 11 April 2016]


Land cover mapping in mountainous areas is a notoriously challenging task due to the rugged terrain and high spatial heterogeneity of land surfaces as well as the frequent cloud contamination of satellite imagery. Taking Southwestern China (a typical mountainous region) as an example, this paper established a new HC-MMK approach (Hierarchical Classification based on Multi-source and Multi-temporal data and geo-Knowledge), which was especially designed for land cover mapping in mountainous areas. This approach was taken in order to generate a 30 m-resolution land cover product in Southwestern China in 2010 (hereinafter referred to as CLC-SW2010). The multi-temporal native HJ (HuanJing, small satellite constellation for disaster and environmental monitoring) CCD (Charge-Coupled Device) images, Landsat TM (Thematic Mapper) images and topographical data (including elevation, aspect, slope, etc.) were taken as the main input data sources. Hierarchical classification tree construction and a five-step knowledge-based interactive quality control were the major components of this proposed approach. The CLC-SW2010 product contained six primary categories and 38 secondary categories, which covered about 2.33 million km2 (accounting for about a quarter of the land area of China). The accuracies of primary and secondary categories for CLC-SW2010 reached 95.09% and 87.14%, respectively, which were assessed independently by a third-party group. This product has so far been used to estimate the terrestrial carbon stocks and assess the quality of the ecological environments. The proposed HC-MMK approach could be used not only in mountainous areas, but also for plains, hills and other regions. Meanwhile, this study could also be used as a reference for other land cover mapping projects over large areas or even the entire globe. View Full-Text
Keywords: land cover mapping; hierarchical classification; knowledge; quality control; multi-source data; HC-MMK approach; CLC-SW2010 product; Southwestern China land cover mapping; hierarchical classification; knowledge; quality control; multi-source data; HC-MMK approach; CLC-SW2010 product; Southwestern China

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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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Lei, G.; Li, A.; Bian, J.; Zhang, Z.; Jin, H.; Nan, X.; Zhao, W.; Wang, J.; Cao, X.; Tan, J.; Liu, Q.; Yu, H.; Yang, G.; Feng, W. Land Cover Mapping in Southwestern China Using the HC-MMK Approach. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 305.

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