The integration of multi-source data to improve the classification of remotely sensed images

  • Mohamad A. Shalan

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The number of remote sensing platforms and sensors rises almost every year, yet much work on the interpretation of land cover is still carried out using either single images or images from the same source taken at different dates. Two questions could be asked of this proliferation of images: can the information contained in different scenes be used to improve the classification accuracy and, what is the best way to combine the different imagery? Two of these multiple image sources are MODIS on the Terra platform and ETM+ on board Landsat7, which are suitably complementary. Daily MODIS images with 36 spectral bands in 250-1000 m spatial resolution and seven spectral bands of ETM+ with 30m and 16 days spatial and temporal resolution respectively are available. In the UK, cloud cover may mean that only a few ETM+ scenes may be available for any particular year and these may not be at the time of year of most interest. The MODIS data may provide information on land cover over the growing season, such as harvest dates, that is not present in the ETM+ data. Therefore, the primary objective of this work is to develop a methodology for the integration of medium spatial resolution Landsat ETM+ image, with multi-temporal, multi-spectral, low-resolution MODIS \Terra images, with the aim of improving the classification of agricultural land. Additionally other data may also be incorporated such as field boundaries from existing maps. When classifying agricultural land cover of the type seen in the UK, where crops are largely sown in homogenous fields with clear and often mapped boundaries, the classification is greatly improved using the mapped polygons and utilising the classification of the polygon as a whole as an apriori probability in classifying each individual pixel using a Bayesian approach. When dealing with multiple images from different platforms and dates it is highly unlikely that the pixels will be exactly co-registered and these pixels will contain a mixture of different real world land covers. Similarly the different atmospheric conditions prevailing during the different days will mean that the same emission from the ground will give rise to different sensor reception. Therefore, a method is presented with a model of the instantaneous field of view and atmospheric effects to enable different remote sensed data sources to be integrated.
Date of Award2005
Original languageEnglish


  • integration of multi-source data
  • classification
  • remotely sensed images

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