Remote Sens.2015, 7(4), 4753-4783; doi:10.3390/rs70404753 (registering DOI) - published 17 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Providingaccurate maps of mangroves, where the spatial scales of the mapped features correspond to the ecological structures and processes, as opposed to pixel sizes and mapping approaches, is a major challenge for remote sensing. This study developed and evaluated an object-based approach to understand what types of mangrove information can be mapped using different image datasets (Landsat TM, ALOS AVNIR-2, WorldView-2, and LiDAR). We compared and contrasted the ability of these images to map five levels of mangrove features, including vegetation boundary, mangrove stands, mangrove zonations, individual tree crowns, and species communities. We used the Moreton Bay site in Australia as the primary site to develop the classification rule sets and Karimunjawa Island in Indonesia to test the applicability of the rule sets. The results demonstrated the effectiveness of a conceptual hierarchical model for mapping specific mangrove features at discrete spatial scales. However, the rule sets developed in this study require modification to map similar mangrove features at different locations or when using image data acquired by different sensors. Across the hierarchical levels, smaller object sizes (i.e., tree crowns) required more complex classification rule sets. Incorporation of contextual information (e.g., distance and elevation) increased the overall mapping accuracy at the mangrove stand level (from 85% to 94%) and mangrove zonation level (from 53% to 59%). We found that higher image spatial resolution, larger object size, and fewer land-cover classes result in higher mapping accuracies. This study highlights the potential of selected images and mapping techniques to map mangrove features, and provides guidance for how to do this effectively through multi-scale mangrove composition mapping.
Remote Sens.2015, 7(4), 4726-4752; doi:10.3390/rs70404726 (registering DOI) - published 17 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Evapotranspiration (ET) plays a key role in water resource management. It is important to understand the ET spatio-temporal pattern of South Asia for understanding and anticipating serious water resource shortages. In this study, daily ET in 2008 was estimated over South Asia by using MODerate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) products combined with field observations and Global Land Data Assimilation System (GLDAS) product through Surface Energy Balance System (SEBS) model. Monthly ET data were calculated based on daily ET and evaluated by the GLDAS ET data. Good agreements were found between two datasets for winter months (October to February) with R2 from 0.5 to 0.7. Spatio-temporal analysis of ET was conducted. Ten specific sites with different land cover types at typical climate regions were selected to analyze the ET temporal change pattern, and the result indicated that the semi-arid or arid areas in the northwest had the lowest average daily ET (around 0.3 mm) with a big fluctuation in the monsoon season, while the sites in the Indo-Gangetic Plain and in southern India has bigger daily ET (more than 3 mm) due to a large water supplement. It is suggested that the monsoon climate has a large impact on ET spatio-temporal variation in the whole region.
Remote Sens.2015, 7(4), 4702-4725; doi:10.3390/rs70404702 (registering DOI) - published 17 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: It has been suggested that airborne laser scanning (ALS) could be used for operational monitoring of vegetation changes in the alpine tree line caused by climate change. Because the vegetation is low in such tree-less areas close to the alpine zone, the accuracy of the digital terrain model (DTM) becomes crucial for early detection of, e.g., pioneer trees representing an ongoing tree migration given that the height of the vegetation may be on the same order of magnitude as the DTM uncertainty. The goal of this study was to assess and exemplify the vertical height errors of DTMs derived from ALS data under varying flying altitudes and pulse repetition frequencies (PRF). Important effects in the analysis were local terrain form, terrain surface, ground vegetation height, and terrain slope, because they may be correlated with recruitment patterns of pioneer trees. Based on 426 ground control points collected in a boreal-alpine ecotone, a standard deviation of 0.07–0.08 m was found for the lowest flying altitudes and lowest PRFs. For the highest PRF the standard deviation was 0.13 m. There were statistically significant mean errors for the different terrain forms and ground vegetation heights (−0.11 to 0.13 m).
Remote Sens.2015, 7(4), 4678-4701; doi:10.3390/rs70404678 (registering DOI) - published 17 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: In recent years, space-borne InSAR (interferometric synthetic aperture radar) techniques have shown their capabilities to provide precise measurements of Earth surface displacements for monitoring natural processes. Landslides threaten human lives and structures, especially in urbanized areas, where the density of elements at risk sensitive to ground movements is high. The methodology described in this paper aims at detecting terrain motions and building deformations at the local scale, by means of satellite radar data combined with in situ validation campaigns. The proposed approach consists of deriving maximum settlement directions of the investigated buildings from displacement data revealed by radar measurements and then in the cross-comparison of these values with background geological data, constructive features and on-field evidence. This validation permits better understanding whether or not the detected movements correspond to visible and effective damages to buildings. The method has been applied to the southwestern sector of Volterra (Tuscany region, Italy), which is a landslide-affected and partially urbanized area, through the use of COSMO-SkyMed satellite images as input data. Moreover, we discuss issues and possible misinterpretations when dealing with PSI (Persistent Scatterer Interferometry) data referring to single manufactures and the consequent difficulty of attributing the motion rate to ground displacements, rather than to structural failures.
Remote Sens.2015, 7(4), 4651-4677; doi:10.3390/rs70404651 (registering DOI) - published 17 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Object-based image analysis allows several different features to be calculated for the resulting objects. However, a large number of features means longer computing times and might even result in a loss of classification accuracy. In this study, we use four feature ranking methods (maximum correlation, average correlation, Jeffries–Matusita distance and mean decrease in the Gini index) and five classification algorithms (linear discriminant analysis, naive Bayes, weighted k-nearest neighbors, support vector machines and random forest). The objective is to discover the optimal algorithm and feature subset to maximize accuracy when classifying a set of 1,076,937 objects, produced by the prior segmentation of a 0.45-m resolution multispectral image, with 356 features calculated on each object. The study area is both large (9070 ha) and diverse, which increases the possibility to generalize the results. The mean decrease in the Gini index was found to be the feature ranking method that provided highest accuracy for all of the classification algorithms. In addition, support vector machines and random forest obtained the highest accuracy in the classification, both using their default parameters. This is a useful result that could be taken into account in the processing of high-resolution images in large and diverse areas to obtain a land cover classification.
Remote Sens.2015, 7(4), 4626-4650; doi:10.3390/rs70404626 (registering DOI) - published 17 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: This study analyzed the vertical distribution of gravimetric water content (GWC), relative water content (RWC), and equivalent water thickness (EWT) in winter wheat during heading and early ripening stages, and evaluated the position of leaf number at which Vegetation Indexes (VIs) can best retrieve canopy water-related properties of winter wheat. Results demonstrated that the vertical distribution of these properties followed a near-bell-shaped curve with the highest values at the intermediate leaf position. GWC of the top three or four leaves during the heading stage and the top two or three leaves during the early ripening stage can represent the GWC of the whole canopy, but the RWC and EWT of the whole canopy should be calculated based on the top four leaves. At leaf level, the analysis demonstrated strong relationships between EWT and VIs for the top leaf layer, but for GWCD, GWCF, and RWC, the strongest relationships with VIs were found in the intermediate leaf layers. At canopy level, VIs provided the most accurate estimation of GWCfor the top three or four leaves. Water absorption-based VIs could estimate canopy EWT of winter wheat for the top four leaves, but the suitable bands sensitive to water absorptions should be carefully selected for the studied species.