A semi-automatic cropland mapping approach using GEOBIA and random forests on black-and-white aerial photography

M.F.A. Vogels*, S.M. de Jong, G. Sterk, E.A. Addink

*Corresponding author for this work

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For decades land-use and land-cover (LULC) conversions have had an important impact on land- and ecosystem degradation, accordingly (historical) LULC information is important for the assessment of such impacts. This information can be derived from black-and-white (B&W) aerial photography. Such photography is often visually interpreted, which is a very time-consuming approach. This study shows that machine learning can be applied on only brightness to derive LULC information. Cropland acreage is semi-automatically mapped by means of Geographic Object-Based Image Analysis (GEOBIA) and Random Forest classification in two study sites in Ethiopia and in The Netherlands. The result is a thematic map with two classes: 1) agricultural cropland and 2) other types of land cover. Overall mapping accuracies attained are 90 % and 96 % for the two study areas respectively. This mapping method increases the timeline at which historical cropland expansion can be mapped purely from brightness information in B&W photography up to the 1930s.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of GEOBIA 2016 : Solutions and synergies, 14-16 September 2016, Enschede, Netherlands
EditorsN. Kerle, M. Gerke, S. Lefevre
Place of PublicationEnschede
PublisherUniversity of Twente, Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC)
Number of pages2
ISBN (Print)978-90-365-4201-2
Publication statusPublished - 2016
Externally publishedYes
Event6th International Conference on Geographic Object-Based Image Analysis, GEOBIA 2016: Solutions & Synergies - University of Twente Faculty of Geo-Information and Earth Observation (ITC), Enschede, Netherlands
Duration: 14 Sept 201616 Sept 2016
Conference number: 6


Conference6th International Conference on Geographic Object-Based Image Analysis, GEOBIA 2016
Abbreviated titleGEOBIA
Internet address

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