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Theses & Dissertations


Hybrid Image Classification Technique for Land-Cover Mapping in the Arctic Tundra, North Slope, Alaska

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Debasish Chaudhuri (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Roy Stine

Abstract: Remotely sensed image classification techniques are very useful to understand vegetation patterns and species combination in the vast and mostly inaccessible arctic region. Previous researches that were done for mapping of land cover and vegetation in the remote areas of northern Alaska have considerably low accuracies compared to other biomes. The unique arctic tundra environment with short growing season length, cloud cover, low sun angles, snow and ice cover hinders the effectiveness of remote sensing studies. The majority of image classification research done in this area as reported in the literature used traditional unsupervised clustering technique with Landsat MSS data. It was also emphasized by previous researchers that SPOT/HRV-XS data lacked the spectral resolution to identify the small arctic tundra vegetation parcels. Thus, there is a motivation and research need to apply a new classification technique to develop an updated, detailed and accurate vegetation map at a higher spatial resolution i.e. SPOT-5 data. Traditional classification techniques in remotely sensed image interpretation are based on spectral reflectance values with an assumption of the training data being normally distributed. Hence it is difficult to add ancillary data in classification procedures to improve accuracy. The purpose of this dissertation was to develop a hybrid image classification approach that effectively integrates ancillary information into the classification process and combines ISODATA clustering, rule-based classifier and the Multilayer Perceptron (MLP) classifier which uses artificial neural network (ANN). The main goal was to find out the best possible combination or sequence of classifiers for typically classifying tundra type vegetation that yields higher accuracy than the existing classified vegetation map from SPOT data. Unsupervised ISODATA clustering and rule-based classification techniques were combined to produce an intermediate classified map which was used as an input to a Multilayer Perceptron (MLP) classifier. The result from the MLP classifier was compared to the previous classified map and for the pixels where there was a disagreement for the class allocations, the class having a higher kappa value was assigned to the pixel in the final classified map. The results were compared to standard classification techniques: simple unsupervised clustering technique and supervised classification with Feature Analyst. The results indicated higher classification accuracy (75.6%, with kappa value of .6840) for the proposed hybrid classification method than the standard classification techniques: unsupervised clustering technique (68.3%, with kappa value of 0.5904) and supervised classification with Feature Analyst (62.44%, with kappa value of 0.5418). The results were statistically significant at 95% confidence level.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 2008
mapping, arctic tundra, remote sensing, vegetation, ISODATA clustering, rule-based classifier, Multilayer Perceptron (MLP) classifier, artificial neural network (ANN),
Vegetation mapping $z Arctic regions.
Vegetation mapping $x Remote sensing.
Neural networks (Computer science)
Pattern recognition systems.
Vegetation surveys.
Vegetation classification.
Ecological mapping $x Remote sensing.