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Automating Geographic Object-Based Image Analysis and Assessing the Methods Transferability: A Case Study Using High Resolution Geografiska SverigedataTM Orthophotos
University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Industrial Development, IT and Land Management, Land management, GIS.
University of Gävle, Faculty of Engineering and Sustainable Development, Department of Industrial Development, IT and Land Management, Land management, GIS.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Geographic object-based image analysis (GEOBIA) is an innovative image classification technique that treats spatial features in an image as objects, rather than as pixels; thus resembling closer to that of human perception of the geographic space. However, the process of a GEOBIA application allows for multiple interpretations. Particularly sensitive parts of the process include image segmentation and training data selection. The multiresolution segmentation algorithm (MSA) is commonly applied. The performance of segmentation depends primarily on the algorithms scale parameter, since scale controls the size of image objects produced. The fact that the scale parameter is unit less makes it a challenge to select a suitable one; thus, leaving the analyst to a method of trial and error. This can lead to a possible bias. Additionally, part from the segmentation, training area selection usually means that the data has to be manually collected. This is not only time consuming but also prone to subjectivity. In order to overcome these challenges, we tested a GEOBIA scheme that involved automatic methods of MSA scale parameterisation and training area selection which enabled us to more objectively classify images.

Three study areas within Sweden were selected. The data used was high resolution Geografiska Sverigedata (GSD) orthophotos from the Swedish mapping agency, Lantmäteriet. We objectively found scale for each classification using a previously published technique embedded as a tool in eCognition software. Based on the orthophoto inputs, the tool calculated local variance and rate of change at different scales. These figures helped us to determine scale value for the MSA segmentation. Moreover, we developed in this study a novel method for automatic training area selection. The method is based on thresholded feature statistics layers computed from the orthophoto band derivatives. Thresholds were detected by Otsu’s single and multilevel algorithms. The layers were run through a filtering process which left only those fit for use in the classification process. We also tested the transferability of classification rule-sets for two of the study areas. This test helped us to investigate the degree to which automation can be realised.

In this study we have made progress toward a more objective way of object-based image classification, realised by automating the scheme. Particularly noteworthy is the algorithm for automatic training area selection proposed, which compared to manual selection restricts human intervention to a minimum. Results of the classification show overall well delineated classes, in particular, the border between open area and forest contributed by the elevation data. On the other hand, there still persists some challenges regarding separating between deciduous and coniferous forest. Furthermore, although water was accurately classified in most instances, in one of the study areas, the water class showed contradictory results between its thematic and positional accuracy; hence stressing the importance of assessing the result based on more than the thematic accuracy. From the transferability test we noted the importance of considering the spatial/spectral characteristics of an area before transferring of rule-sets as these factors are a key to determine whether a transfer is possible.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. , iv+51+appendixes p.
Keyword [en]
automatic training area selection, scale parameterisation, multiresolution segmentation, classification rule-sets, positional accuracy
National Category
Other Civil Engineering
URN: urn:nbn:se:hig:diva-22570OAI: diva2:1034429
External cooperation
Subject / course
Educational program
Geomatics – master’s programme (one year) (swe or eng)
Available from: 2016-10-12 Created: 2016-10-11 Last updated: 2016-10-12Bibliographically approved

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