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Crop classification in a heterogeneous arable landscape using uncalibrated UAV data


Böhler, Jonas; Schaepman, Michael E; Kneubühler, Mathias (2018). Crop classification in a heterogeneous arable landscape using uncalibrated UAV data. Remote Sensing, 10(8):1282.

Abstract

Land cover maps are indispensable for decision making, monitoring, and management in agricultural areas, but they are often only available after harvesting. To obtain a timely crop map of a small-scale arable landscape in the Swiss Plateau, we acquired uncalibrated, very high-resolution data, with a spatial resolution of 0.05 m and four spectral bands, using a consumer-grade camera on an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in June 2015. We resampled the data to different spatial and spectral resolutions, and evaluated the method using textural features (first order statistics and mathematical morphology), a random forest classifier for best performance, as well as number and size of the structuring elements. Our main findings suggest the overall best performing data consisting of a spatial resolution of 0.5 m, three spectral bands (RGB—red, green, and blue), and five different sizes of the structuring elements. The overall accuracy (OA) for the full set of crop classes based on a pixel-based classification is 66.7%. In case of a merged set of crops, the OA increases by ~7% (74.0%). For an object-based classification based on individual field parcels, the OA increases by ~20% (OA of 86.3% for the full set of crop classes, and 94.6% for the merged set, respectively). We conclude the use of UAV to be most relevant at 0.5 m spatial resolution in heterogeneous arable landscapes when used for crop classification.

Abstract

Land cover maps are indispensable for decision making, monitoring, and management in agricultural areas, but they are often only available after harvesting. To obtain a timely crop map of a small-scale arable landscape in the Swiss Plateau, we acquired uncalibrated, very high-resolution data, with a spatial resolution of 0.05 m and four spectral bands, using a consumer-grade camera on an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in June 2015. We resampled the data to different spatial and spectral resolutions, and evaluated the method using textural features (first order statistics and mathematical morphology), a random forest classifier for best performance, as well as number and size of the structuring elements. Our main findings suggest the overall best performing data consisting of a spatial resolution of 0.5 m, three spectral bands (RGB—red, green, and blue), and five different sizes of the structuring elements. The overall accuracy (OA) for the full set of crop classes based on a pixel-based classification is 66.7%. In case of a merged set of crops, the OA increases by ~7% (74.0%). For an object-based classification based on individual field parcels, the OA increases by ~20% (OA of 86.3% for the full set of crop classes, and 94.6% for the merged set, respectively). We conclude the use of UAV to be most relevant at 0.5 m spatial resolution in heterogeneous arable landscapes when used for crop classification.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Uncontrolled Keywords:General Earth and Planetary Sciences
Language:English
Date:14 August 2018
Deposited On:02 Oct 2018 13:20
Last Modified:05 Oct 2018 12:44
Publisher:MDPI Publishing
ISSN:2072-4292
OA Status:Gold
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3390/rs10081282

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