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A Cluster Graph Approach to Land Cover Classification Boosting

1
Signal Processing in Earth Observation, Department of Civil, Geo and Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Munich, 80333 München, Germany
2
Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Stellenbosch University, Stellenbosch 7600, South Africa
3
Chair of Cartography, Department of Civil, Geo and Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Munich, 80333 München, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 30 October 2018 / Revised: 3 January 2019 / Accepted: 4 January 2019 / Published: 10 January 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Geospatial Crowdsourced Data - Validation and Classification)
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Abstract

When it comes to land cover classification, the process of deriving the land classes is complex due to possible errors in algorithms, spatio-temporal heterogeneity of the Earth observation data, variation in availability and quality of reference data, or a combination of these. This article proposes a probabilistic graphical model approach, in the form of a cluster graph, to boost geospatial classifications and produce a more accurate and robust classification and uncertainty product. Cluster graphs can be characterized as a means of reasoning about geospatial data such as land cover classifications by considering the effects of spatial distribution, and inter-class dependencies in a computationally efficient manner. To assess the capabilities of our proposed cluster graph boosting approach, we apply it to the field of land cover classification. We make use of existing land cover products (GlobeLand30, CORINE Land Cover) along with data from Volunteered Geographic Information (VGI), namely OpenStreetMap (OSM), to generate a boosted land cover classification and the respective uncertainty estimates. Our approach combines qualitative and quantitative components through the application of our probabilistic graphical model and subjective expert judgments. Evaluating our approach on a test region in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany, our approach was able to boost the overall land cover classification accuracy by 1.4% when compared to an independent reference land cover dataset. Our approach was shown to be robust and was able to produce a diverse, feasible and spatially consistent land cover classification in areas of incomplete and conflicting evidence. On an independent validation scene, we demonstrated that our cluster graph boosting approach was generalizable even when initialized with poor prior assumptions. View Full-Text
Keywords: land cover; classification; cluster graphs; probabilistic graphical models; crowdsourcing data; OSM land cover; classification; cluster graphs; probabilistic graphical models; crowdsourcing data; OSM
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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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Hughes, L.H.; Streicher, S.; Chuprikova, E.; Du Preez, J. A Cluster Graph Approach to Land Cover Classification Boosting. Data 2019, 4, 10.

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