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Global land cover mapping at 30m resolution: A POK-based operational approach

Jun Chen, Jin Chen, Anping Liao, Xin Cao, Lijun Chen, Xuehong Chen, Chaoying He, Gang Han, Shu Peng, Miao Lu, Weiwei Zhang, Xiaohua Tong, Jon Mills

Global Land Cover (GLC) information is fundamental for environmental change studies, land resource management, sustainable development, and many other societal benefits. Although GLC data exists at spatial resolutions of 300 m and 1000 m, a 30 m resolution mapping approach is now a feasible option for the next generation of GLC products. Since most significant human impacts on the land system can be captured at this scale, a number of researchers are focusing on such products. This paper reports the operational approach used in such a project, which aims to deliver reliable data products.
Over 10,000 Landsat-like satellite images are required to cover the entire Earth at 30 m resolution. To derive a GLC map from such a large volume of data necessitates the development of effective, efficient, economic and operational approaches. Automated approaches usually provide higher efficiency and thus more economic solutions, yet existing automated classification has been deemed ineffective because of the low classification accuracy achievable (typically below 65%) at global scale at 30 m resolution. As a result, an approach based on the integration of pixel- and object-based methods with knowledge (POK-based) has been developed. To handle the classification process of 10 land cover types, a split-and-merge strategy was employed, i.e. firstly each class identified in a prioritized sequence and then results are merged together. For the identification of each class, a robust integration of pixel-and object-based classification was developed. To improve the quality of the classification results, a knowledge-based interactive verification procedure was developed with the support of web service technology. The performance of the POK-based approach was tested using eight selected areas with differing landscapes from five different continents. An overall classification accuracy of over 80% was achieved. This indicates that the developed POK-based approach is effective and feasible for operational GLC mapping at 30 m resolution.

ISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing, Vol. 103 (May 2015), pp. 7-27, 
Key: INRMM:14545066



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