Use of Binary Partition Tree and energy minimization for object-based classification of urban land cover

Mengmeng Li, W. Bijker, A. Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Two main challenges are faced when classifying urban land cover from very high resolution satellite images: obtaining an optimal image segmentation and distinguishing buildings from other man-made objects. For optimal segmentation, this work proposes a hierarchical representation of an image by means of a Binary Partition Tree (BPT) and an unsupervised evaluation of image segmentations by energy minimization. For building extraction, we apply fuzzy sets to create a fuzzy landscape of shadows which in turn involves a two-step procedure. The first step is a preliminarily image classification at a fine segmentation level to generate vegetation and shadow information. The second step models the directional relationship between building and shadow objects to extract building information at the optimal segmentation level. We conducted the experiments on two datasets of Pléiades images from Wuhan City, China. To demonstrate its performance, the proposed classification is compared at the optimal segmentation level with Maximum Likelihood Classification and Support Vector Machine classification. The results show that the proposed classification produced the highest overall accuracies and kappa coefficients, and the smallest over-classification and under-classification geometric errors. We conclude first that integrating BPT with energy minimization offers an effective means for image segmentation. Second, we conclude that the directional relationship between building and shadow objects represented by a fuzzy landscape is important for building extraction.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)48-61
JournalISPRS journal of photogrammetry and remote sensing
Publication statusPublished - 2015



  • METIS-311061

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