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Remote Sens. 2016, 8(7), 552;

Classification and Monitoring of Reed Belts Using Dual-Polarimetric TerraSAR-X Time Series

GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences, Telegrafenberg, 14473 Potsdam, Germany
Microwaves and Radar Institute, German Aerospace Center (DLR), Münchener Str. 20, 82234 Wessling, Germany
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Bruce Chapman, Paul Siqueira, Deepak R. Mishra and Prasad S. Thenkabail
Received: 19 February 2016 / Revised: 20 May 2016 / Accepted: 22 June 2016 / Published: 29 June 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Calibration and Validation of Synthetic Aperture Radar)
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Synthetic aperture radar polarimetry (PolSAR) and polarimetric decomposition techniques have proven to be useful tools for wetland mapping. In this study we classify reed belts and monitor their phenological changes at a natural lake in northeastern Germany using dual-co-polarized (HH, VV) TerraSAR-X time series. The time series comprises 19 images, acquired between August 2014 and May 2015, in ascending and descending orbit. We calculated different polarimetric indices using the HH and VV intensities, the dual-polarimetric coherency matrix including dominant and mean alpha scattering angles, and entropy and anisotropy (normalized eigenvalue difference) as well as combinations of entropy and anisotropy for the analysis of the scattering scenarios. The image classifications were performed with the random forest classifier and validated with high-resolution digital orthophotos. The time series analysis of the reed belts revealed significant seasonal changes for the double-bounce–sensitive parameters (intensity ratio HH/VV and intensity difference HH-VV, the co-polarimetric coherence phase and the dominant and mean alpha scattering angles) and in the dual-polarimetric coherence (amplitude), anisotropy, entropy, and anisotropy-entropy combinations; whereas in summer dense leaves cause volume scattering, in winter, after leaves have fallen, the reed stems cause predominately double-bounce scattering. Our study showed that the five most important parameters for the classification of reed are the intensity difference HH-VV, the mean alpha scattering angle, intensity ratio HH/VV, and the coherence (phase). Due to the better separation of reed and other vegetation (deciduous forest, coniferous forest, meadow), winter acquisitions are preferred for the mapping of reed. Multi-temporal stacks of winter images performed better than summer ones. The combination of ascending and descending images also improved the result as it reduces the influence of the sensor look direction. However, in this study, only an accuracy of ~50% correct classified reed areas was reached. Whereas the shorelines with reed areas (>10 m broad) could be detected correctly, the actual reed areas were significantly overestimated. The main source of error is probably the challenging data geocoding causing geolocation inaccuracies, which need to be solved in future studies. View Full-Text
Keywords: SAR polarimetry; TerraSAR-X; monitoring; reed; wetlands; Northeastern Germany; classification; randomforest SAR polarimetry; TerraSAR-X; monitoring; reed; wetlands; Northeastern Germany; classification; randomforest

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Heine, I.; Jagdhuber, T.; Itzerott, S. Classification and Monitoring of Reed Belts Using Dual-Polarimetric TerraSAR-X Time Series. Remote Sens. 2016, 8, 552.

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