Assessing and Improving Methods for the Effective Use of Landsat Imagery for Classification and Change Detection in Remote Canadian Regions

Title: Assessing and Improving Methods for the Effective Use of Landsat Imagery for Classification and Change Detection in Remote Canadian Regions
Authors: He, Juan Xia
Date: 2016
Abstract: Canadian remote areas are characterized by a minimal human footprint, restricted accessibility, ubiquitous lichen/snow cover (e.g. Arctic) or continuous forest with water bodies (e.g. Sub-Arctic). Effective mapping of earth surface cover and land cover changes using free medium-resolution Landsat images in remote environments is a challenge due to the presence of spectrally mixed pixels, restricted field sampling and ground truthing, and the often relatively homogenous cover in some areas. This thesis investigates how remote sensing methods can be applied to improve the capability of Landsat images for mapping earth surface features and land cover changes in Canadian remote areas. The investigation is conducted from the following four perspectives: 1) determining the continuity of Landsat-8 images for mapping surficial materials, 2) selecting classification algorithms that best address challenges involving mixed pixels, 3) applying advanced image fusion algorithms to improve Landsat spatial resolution while maintaining spectral fidelity and reducing the effects of mixed pixels on image classification and change detection, and, 4) examining different change detection techniques, including post-classification comparisons and threshold-based methods employing PCA(Principal Components Analysis)-fused multi-temporal Landsat images to detect changes in Canadian remote areas. Three typical landscapes in Canadian remote areas are chosen in this research. The first is located in the Canadian Arctic and is characterized by ubiquitous lichen and snow cover. The second is located in the Canadian sub-Arctic and is characterized by well-defined land features such as highlands, ponds, and wetlands. The last is located in a forested highlands region with minimal built-environment features. The thesis research demonstrates that the newly available Landsat-8 images can be a major data source for mapping Canadian geological information in Arctic areas when Landsat-7 is decommissioned. In addition, advanced classification techniques such as a Support-Vector-Machine (SVM) can generate satisfactory classification results in the context of mixed training data and minimal field sampling and truthing. This thesis research provides a systematic investigation on how geostatistical image fusion can be used to improve the performance of Landsat images in identifying surface features. Finally, SVM-based post-classified multi-temporal, and threshold-based PCA-fused bi-temporal Landsat images are shown to be effective in detecting different aspects of vegetation change in a remote forested region in Ontario. This research provides a comprehensive methodology to employ free Landsat images for image classification and change detection in Canadian remote regions.
CollectionThèses, 2011 - // Theses, 2011 -