Mapping land use from high resolution satellite images by exploiting the spatial arrangement of land cover objects

Mengmeng Li*, A. Stein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)
53 Downloads (Pure)


Spatial information regarding the arrangement of land cover objects plays an important role in distinguishing the land use types at land parcel or local neighborhood levels. This study investigates the use of graph convolutional networks (GCNs) in order to characterize spatial arrangement features for land use classification from high resolution remote sensing images, with particular interest in comparing land use classifications between different graph-based methods and between different remote sensing images. We examine three kinds of graph-based methods, i.e., feature engineering, graph kernels, and GCNs. Based upon the extracted arrangement features and features regarding the spatial composition of land cover objects, we formulated ten land use classifications. We tested those on two different remote sensing images, which were acquired from GaoFen-2 (with a spatial resolution of 0.8 m) and ZiYuan-3 (of 2.5 m) satellites in 2020 on Fuzhou City, China. Our results showed that land use classifications that are based on the arrangement features derived from GCNs achieved the highest classification accuracy than using graph kernels and handcrafted graph features for both images. We also found that the contribution to separating land use types by arrangement features varies between GaoFen-2 and ZiYuan-3 images, due to the difference in the spatial resolution. This study offers a set of approaches for effectively mapping land use types from (very) high resolution satellite images.
Original languageEnglish
Article number4158
Number of pages21
JournalRemote sensing
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - 18 Dec 2020




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