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Mapping Chicago area urban tree canopy using color infrared imagery

Mcbride, Jeanette LU (2011) In LUMA-GIS Thesis GISM01 20112
Dept of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science
Abstract
General summary
Satellite imagery has been used to create highly accurate land cover maps, even effectively identifying different types of vegetation. Differences in pixel values in one or more colors in an image provide a way to create computer-generated land cover maps, but the large pixel size of many satellite images is not appropriate for urban areas where details, such as individual street trees, are not recognizable. In Illinois, USA, color infrared (CIR) aerial photos with a two-meter pixel size are freely available via download. This study explores the possibility of developing a method for mapping tree canopy in an urban environment that can be applied to various images from this CIR collection.

The possibility of applying... (More)
General summary
Satellite imagery has been used to create highly accurate land cover maps, even effectively identifying different types of vegetation. Differences in pixel values in one or more colors in an image provide a way to create computer-generated land cover maps, but the large pixel size of many satellite images is not appropriate for urban areas where details, such as individual street trees, are not recognizable. In Illinois, USA, color infrared (CIR) aerial photos with a two-meter pixel size are freely available via download. This study explores the possibility of developing a method for mapping tree canopy in an urban environment that can be applied to various images from this CIR collection.

The possibility of applying the pixel values to that best identify tree canopy in one image to several other images (rather than evaluating tree canopy characteristics in each image), was tested. The limits to this type of template for accurately mapping urban tree canopy, and the classification method that is most effective when applied to several different images, form the focus of this paper.

One image was used for model development, and the most successful model tested on that image was applied to three adjacent images for further evaluation. The three bands in the color infrared image (near-infrared(NIR), red, and green) were tested for potential to separate pixels representing tree canopy from those representing grass. Nine indices (combinations of pixel values from more than one color), were also evaluated. Using the normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), which employs a combination of red and NIR values to detect biomass, a mask was created to exclude pixels that did not represent vegetation. General statistics for pixel values in areas identified as grass or canopy were then evaluated to determine the best ranges for assigning the remaining pixels to the correct vegetation type. Three automated computer classifications (where the computer creates a map based on examples of different land cover in the image) were tested for comparison against these methods.

Results from the classification of the first image found both the red and green color values produced a land cover classification with 82% accuracy. The automated computer classifications ranged from 79 to 80% in overall accuracy. Two of the vegetation indices, NIR/green and (NIR+red+green/3), also resulted in 80% overall accuracy. When the model developed on the first image was extended to include three adjacent images, both the red and green spectral band values, and two of the vegetation indices, produced land cover classifications with greater than 76% overall accuracy. The model that produced the best tree canopy classification results when applied to all four images was tree canopy pixels are those where NDVI > 0.119 and (NIR+red+green)/3 <=132. This tree canopy definition resulted in an overall accuracy of 81% for the expanded study area. The estimated error in tree canopy extent was +25.7%. (Less)
Abstract
Scientific summary
Satellite imagery has been used to produce highly accurate land cover maps, even effectively discriminating between vegetation types. While land cover classification based on differences in pixel values in one or more spectral bands is an effective way of mapping large areas, the coarse resolution of freely available satellite images is not suitable for mapping urban environments. In Illinois, USA, color infrared (CIR) aerial photos with a resolution of two meters are freely available via download. This study explores the possibility of developing a template for mapping tree canopy in an urban environment using two-meter resolution CIR imagery.
The possibility of applying the same set of classification criteria to... (More)
Scientific summary
Satellite imagery has been used to produce highly accurate land cover maps, even effectively discriminating between vegetation types. While land cover classification based on differences in pixel values in one or more spectral bands is an effective way of mapping large areas, the coarse resolution of freely available satellite images is not suitable for mapping urban environments. In Illinois, USA, color infrared (CIR) aerial photos with a resolution of two meters are freely available via download. This study explores the possibility of developing a template for mapping tree canopy in an urban environment using two-meter resolution CIR imagery.
The possibility of applying the same set of classification criteria to various images from the greater Chicago area, rather than evaluating and determining classification values for each image, was tested. The ultimate goal is to provide less-advanced GIS users with a simple procedure for generating a tree canopy map using the above-described imagery. The limits to this type of general template for accurately mapping urban tree canopy, and the classification method that is most effective when applied to several different images, form the focus of this paper.
One image was used for model development, and the most successful model was applied to three adjacent images for further evaluation. Nine vegetation indices as well as the three spectral bands were tested for potential to discriminate between woody vegetation and grass in a land cover classification. An NDVI layer was created, and those pixels with NDVI below a minimum value were excluded from further evaluation, leaving a raster layer representing only green biomass. General statistics for pixel values in polygons identified as grass or canopy were then evaluated to determine the best ranges for assigning pixels to either the tree canopy or grass class. Three automated computer classification methods were also tested for comparison against these methods.
Results from the classification of the first image found both the red and green spectral band produced a land cover classification with 82% accuracy. The automated classifications ranged from 79 to 80% in overall accuracy. Two indices, NIR/green and (NIR+red+green/3), also resulted in 80% overall accuracy. When the model developed on the first image was extended to include three adjacent images, both the red and green spectral band values, and two of the vegetation indices, produced land cover classifications with greater than 76% overall accuracy. The model that produced the best tree canopy classification results when applied to all four images defined tree canopy pixels as those where NDVI > 0.119 and (NIR+red+green)/3 <=132. This classification resulted in an overall accuracy of 81% for the expanded study area with a producer’s accuracy for canopy of 88.5%. User’s accuracy was 70.4%, the kappa coefficient was 0.705, and the kappa for the canopy class was 0.547. Aeral difference was +25.7%. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Mcbride, Jeanette LU
supervisor
organization
course
GISM01 20112
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
physical geography, GIS, tree canopy, color-infrared imagery, urban forest, vegetation indices, NDVI, remote sensing, Chicago
publication/series
LUMA-GIS Thesis
report number
14
language
English
id
3460287
date added to LUP
2013-02-11 15:04:00
date last changed
2013-02-11 15:04:00
@misc{3460287,
  abstract     = {Scientific summary
Satellite imagery has been used to produce highly accurate land cover maps, even effectively discriminating between vegetation types. While land cover classification based on differences in pixel values in one or more spectral bands is an effective way of mapping large areas, the coarse resolution of freely available satellite images is not suitable for mapping urban environments. In Illinois, USA, color infrared (CIR) aerial photos with a resolution of two meters are freely available via download. This study explores the possibility of developing a template for mapping tree canopy in an urban environment using two-meter resolution CIR imagery.
	The possibility of applying the same set of classification criteria to various images from the greater Chicago area, rather than evaluating and determining classification values for each image, was tested. The ultimate goal is to provide less-advanced GIS users with a simple procedure for generating a tree canopy map using the above-described imagery. The limits to this type of general template for accurately mapping urban tree canopy, and the classification method that is most effective when applied to several different images, form the focus of this paper.
	One image was used for model development, and the most successful model was applied to three adjacent images for further evaluation. Nine vegetation indices as well as the three spectral bands were tested for potential to discriminate between woody vegetation and grass in a land cover classification. An NDVI layer was created, and those pixels with NDVI below a minimum value were excluded from further evaluation, leaving a raster layer representing only green biomass. General statistics for pixel values in polygons identified as grass or canopy were then evaluated to determine the best ranges for assigning pixels to either the tree canopy or grass class. Three automated computer classification methods were also tested for comparison against these methods.
Results from the classification of the first image found both the red and green spectral band produced a land cover classification with 82% accuracy. The automated classifications ranged from 79 to 80% in overall accuracy. Two indices, NIR/green and (NIR+red+green/3), also resulted in 80% overall accuracy. When the model developed on the first image was extended to include three adjacent images, both the red and green spectral band values, and two of the vegetation indices, produced land cover classifications with greater than 76% overall accuracy. The model that produced the best tree canopy classification results when applied to all four images defined tree canopy pixels as those where NDVI > 0.119 and (NIR+red+green)/3 <=132. This classification resulted in an overall accuracy of 81% for the expanded study area with a producer’s accuracy for canopy of 88.5%. User’s accuracy was 70.4%, the kappa coefficient was 0.705, and the kappa for the canopy class was 0.547. Aeral difference was +25.7%.},
  author       = {Mcbride, Jeanette},
  keyword      = {physical geography,GIS,tree canopy,color-infrared imagery,urban forest,vegetation indices,NDVI,remote sensing,Chicago},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {LUMA-GIS Thesis},
  title        = {Mapping Chicago area urban tree canopy using color infrared imagery},
  year         = {2011},
}