An increasingly important application of remote sensing is to provide decision support during emergency response and disaster management efforts. Land cover maps constitute one such useful application product during disaster events; if generated rapidly after any disaster, such map products can contribute to the efficacy of the response effort. In light of recent nuclear incidents, e.g., after the earthquake/tsunami in Japan (2011), our research focuses on constructing rapid and accurate land cover maps of the impacted area in case of an accidental nuclear release. The methodology involves integration of results from two different approaches, namely coarse spatial resolution multi-temporal and fine spatial resolution imagery, to increase classification accuracy. Although advanced methods have been developed for classification using high spatial or temporal resolution imagery, only a limited amount of work has been done on fusion of these two remote sensing approaches. The presented methodology thus involves integration of classification results from two different remote sensing modalities in order to improve classification accuracy. The data used included RapidEye and MODIS scenes over the Nine Mile Point Nuclear Power Station in Oswego (New York, USA). The first step in the process was the construction of land cover maps from freely available, high temporal resolution, low spatial resolution MODIS imagery using a time-series approach. We used the variability in the temporal signatures among different land cover classes for classification. The time series-specific features were defined by various physical properties of a pixel, such as variation in vegetation cover and water content over time. The pixels were classified into four land cover classes - forest, urban, water, and vegetation - using Euclidean and Mahalanobis distance metrics. On the other hand, a high spatial resolution commercial satellite, such as RapidEye, can be tasked to capture images over the affected area in the case of a nuclear event. This imagery served as a second source of data to augment results from the time series approach. The classifications from the two approaches were integrated using an a posteriori probability-based fusion approach. This was done by establishing a relationship between the classes, obtained after classification of the two data sources. Despite the coarse spatial resolution of MODIS pixels, acceptable accuracies were obtained using time series features. The overall accuracies using the fusion-based approach were in the neighborhood of 80%, when compared with GIS data sets from New York State. This fusion thus contributed to classification accuracy refinement, with a few additional advantages, such as correction for cloud cover and providing for an approach that is robust against point-in-time seasonal anomalies, due to the inclusion of multi-temporal data.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Landscape ecology--Remote sensing; Emergency management--Remote sensing; Land use--Classification; Remote sensing--Data processing; Multisensor data fusion
Department, Program, or Center
Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science (COS)
van Aardt, Jan
Sah, Shagan, "A Multi-temporal fusion-based approach for land cover mapping in support of nuclear incident response" (2013). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
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