A Bayesian characterization of urban land use configurations from VHR remote sensing images

Mengmeng Li*, A. Stein, Kirsten M. De Beurs

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
24 Downloads (Pure)


The composition and arrangement of spatial entities, i.e., land cover objects, play a key role in distinguishing land use types from very high resolution (VHR) remote sensing images, in particular in urban environments. This paper presents a new method to characterize the spatial arrangement for urban land use extraction using VHR images. We derive an adjacency unit matrix to represent the spatial arrangement of land cover objects obtained from a VHR image, and use a graph convolutional network to quantify the spatial arrangement by extracting hidden features from adjacency unit matrices. The distribution of the spatial arrangement variables, i.e., hidden features, and the spatial composition variables, i.e., widely used land use indicators, are then estimated. We use a Bayesian method to integrate the variables of spatial arrangement and composition for urban land use extraction. Experiments were conducted using three VHR images acquired in two urban areas: a Pleiades image in Wuhan in 2013, a Superview image in Wuhan in 2019, and a GeoEye image in Oklahoma City in 2012. Our results show that the proposed method provides an effective means to characterize the spatial arrangement of land cover objects, and produces urban land use extractions with overall accuracies (i.e., 86% and 93%) higher than existing methods (i.e., 83% and 88%) that use spatial arrangement information based on building types on the Pleiades and GeoEye datasets. Moreover, it is unnecessary to further categorize the dominant land cover type into finer types for the characterization of spatial arrangement. We conclude that the proposed method has a high potential for the characterization of urban structure using different VHR images, and for the extraction of urban land use in different urban areas.
Original languageEnglish
Article number102175
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation
Early online date17 Jun 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020




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