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Habitat Mapping and Change Assessment of Coastal Environments: An Examination of WorldView-2, QuickBird, and IKONOS Satellite Imagery and Airborne LiDAR for Mapping Barrier Island Habitats

Department of Geography & Geology, University of North Carolina Wilmington, 601 South College Rd., Wilmington, NC 29403, USA
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ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2014, 3(1), 297-325; https://doi.org/10.3390/ijgi3010297
Received: 12 October 2013 / Revised: 11 February 2014 / Accepted: 20 February 2014 / Published: 6 March 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Coastal GIS)
Habitat mapping can be accomplished using many techniques and types of data. There are pros and cons for each technique and dataset, therefore, the goal of this project was to investigate the capabilities of new satellite sensor technology and to assess map accuracy for a variety of image classification techniques based on hundreds of field-work sites. The study area was Masonboro Island, an undeveloped area in coastal North Carolina, USA. Using the best map results, a habitat change assessment was conducted between 2002 and 2010. WorldView-2, QuickBird, and IKONOS satellite sensors were tested using unsupervised and supervised methods using a variety of spectral band combinations. Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) elevation and texture data pan-sharpening, and spatial filtering were also tested. In total, 200 maps were generated and results indicated that WorldView-2 was consistently more accurate than QuickBird and IKONOS. Supervised maps were more accurate than unsupervised in 80% of the maps. Pan-sharpening the images did not consistently improve map accuracy but using a majority filter generally increased map accuracy. During the relatively short eight-year period, 20% of the coastal study area changed with intertidal marsh experiencing the most change. Smaller habitat classes changed substantially as well. For example, 84% of upland scrub-shrub experienced change. These results document the dynamic nature of coastal habitats, validate the use of the relatively new Worldview-2 sensor, and may be used to guide future coastal habitat mapping. View Full-Text
Keywords: habitat classification; coastal change; WorldView-2; LiDAR habitat classification; coastal change; WorldView-2; LiDAR
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McCarthy, M.J.; Halls, J.N. Habitat Mapping and Change Assessment of Coastal Environments: An Examination of WorldView-2, QuickBird, and IKONOS Satellite Imagery and Airborne LiDAR for Mapping Barrier Island Habitats. ISPRS Int. J. Geo-Inf. 2014, 3, 297-325.

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