Combining per-pixel and object-based classifications for mapping land cover over large areas

Hugo Costa, Hugo Carrão, Fernando Bação, Mário Caetano

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


A plethora of national and regional applications need land-cover information covering large areas. Manual classification based on visual interpretation and digital per-pixel classification are the two most commonly applied methods for land-cover mapping over large areas using remote-sensing images, but both present several drawbacks. This paper tests a method with moderate spatial resolution images for deriving a product with a predefined minimum mapping unit (MMU) unconstrained by spatial resolution. The approach consists of a traditional supervised per-pixel classification followed by a post-classification processing that includes image segmentation and semantic map generalization. The approach was tested with AWiFS data collected over a region in Portugal to map 15 land-cover classes with 10 ha MMU. The map presents a thematic accuracy of 72.6 ± 3.7% at the 95% confidence level, which is approximately 10% higher than the per-pixel classification accuracy. The results show that segmentation of moderate-spatial resolution images and semantic map generalization can be used in an operational context to automatically produce land-cover maps with a predefined MMU over large areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)738-753
Number of pages16
JournalInternational Journal of Remote Sensing
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


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