A method to incorporate uncertainty in the classification of remote sensing images

Luisa M.S. Gonçalves, Cidália C. Fonte, Eduardo N.B.S. Júlio, Mário Caetano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this paper is to investigate if the incorporation of the uncertainty associated with the classification of surface elements into the classification of landscape units (LUs) increases the results accuracy. To this end, a hybrid classification method is developed, including uncertainty information in the classification of very high spatial resolution multi-spectral satellite images, to obtain a map of LUs. The developed classification methodology includes the following steps: (1) a pixel-based hard classification with a probabilistic Bayesian classifier; (2) computation of the posterior probabilities and quantification of the classification uncertainty using an uncertainty measure; (3) image segmentation and (4) object classification based on decision rules. The classification of the resulting objects into LUs is performed considering a set of decision rules that incorporate the pixel- based classification uncertainty. The proposed methodology was tested on the classification of an IKONOS satellite image. The accuracy of the classification was computed using an error matrix. The comparison between the results obtained with the proposed approach and those obtained without considering the classification uncertainty revealed a 12% increase in the overall accuracy. This shows that the information about uncertainty can be valuable when making decisions and can actually increase the accuracy of the classification results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5489-5503
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Remote Sensing
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2009


Dive into the research topics of 'A method to incorporate uncertainty in the classification of remote sensing images'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this