Multitemporal unmixing of medium-spatial-resolution satellite images: a case study using MERIS images for land - cover mapping

R. Zurita-Milla, L. Gomez-Chova, L. Guanter, J.G.P.W. Clevers, G. Camps-Valls

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45 Citations (Scopus)


Data from current medium-spatial-resolution imaging spectroradiometers are used for land-cover mapping and land-cover change detection at regional to global scales. However, few landscapes are homogeneous at these scales, and this creates the so-called mixed-pixel problem. In this context, this study explores the use of the linear spectral mixture model to extract subpixel land-cover composition from medium-spatial-resolution data. In particular, a time series of MEdium Resolution Imaging Spectrometer (MERIS) full-resolution (FR; pixel size of 300 m) images acquired over The Netherlands is used to illustrate this study. The Netherlands was selected because of the following: 1) the fragmentation of its landscapes and 2) the availability of a high-spatial-resolution land-cover data set (LGN5) which can be used as a reference. The question then is to what extent a multitemporal unmixing of MERIS FR data delivers land-cover information comparable with the one provided by the LGN5. To this end, fully constrained linear spectral unmixing is applied to each individual MERIS image and to the multitemporal composite. The unmixing results are validated at both subpixel and per-pixel scales and at two thematic aggregation levels (12 and 4 land-cover classes). The obtained results indicate that the described unmixing approach yields moderate results for the 12-class case and good results for the 4-class case. These results might be explained by MERIS preprocessing steps, gridding effects, vegetation phenophases, and spectral class separability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4308-4317
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE transactions on geoscience and remote sensing
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • METIS-304171


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