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Canopy Height Estimation at Landsat Resolution Using Convolutional Neural Networks

Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Regina, Regina, SK S4S 0A2, Canada
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Mach. Learn. Knowl. Extr. 2020, 2(1), 23-36; https://doi.org/10.3390/make2010003
Received: 9 January 2020 / Revised: 4 February 2020 / Accepted: 5 February 2020 / Published: 9 February 2020
Forest structure estimation is very important in geological, ecological and environmental studies. It provides the basis for the carbon stock estimation and effective means of sequestration of carbon sources and sinks. Multiple parameters are used to estimate the forest structure like above ground biomass, leaf area index and diameter at breast height. Among all these parameters, vegetation height has unique standing. In addition to forest structure estimation it provides the insight into long term historical changes and the estimates of stand age of the forests as well. There are multiple techniques available to estimate the canopy height. Light detection and ranging (LiDAR) based methods, being the accurate and useful ones, are very expensive to obtain and have no global coverage. There is a need to establish a mechanism to estimate the canopy height using freely available satellite imagery like Landsat images. Multiple studies are available which contribute in this area. The majority use Landsat images with random forest models. Although random forest based models are widely used in remote sensing applications, they lack the ability to utilize the spatial association of neighboring pixels in modeling process. In this research work, we define Convolutional Neural Network based model and analyze that model for three test configurations. We replicate the random forest based setup of Grant et al., which is a similar state-of-the-art study, and compare our results and show that the convolutional neural networks (CNN) based models not only capture the spatial association of neighboring pixels but also outperform the state-of-the-art.
Keywords: Landsat; deep learning; convolutional neural networks; LiDAR; canopy height model Landsat; deep learning; convolutional neural networks; LiDAR; canopy height model
MDPI and ACS Style

Shah, S.A.A.; Manzoor, M.A.; Bais, A. Canopy Height Estimation at Landsat Resolution Using Convolutional Neural Networks. Mach. Learn. Knowl. Extr. 2020, 2, 23-36.

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