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TitleAccuracy assessment of global land cover products derived from satellite data
DownloadDownloads (Preprint)
LicencePlease note the adoption of the Open Government Licence - Canada supersedes any previous licences.
AuthorLatifovic, R; Olthof, I
Source 2003., Open Access logo Open Access
Alt SeriesEarth Sciences Sector, Contribution Series 20043222
Mediapaper; on-line; digital
File formatpdf
Released2003 01 01
AbstractInformation on land cover distribution at regional and global scales has become fundamental for studying global changes affecting ecological and climatic systems. The remote sensing community has responded to this increased interest by improving data quality and methodologies for extracting land cover information. However, in addition to the advantages provided by satellite products, certain limitations exist that need to be objectively quantified and clearly communicated to users so that they can make informed decisions on if and how land cover products should be used. Accuracy assessment is the procedure used to quantify product quality. Some aspects of accuracy assessment for evaluating four global land cover maps over Canada are discussed in this paper. Attempts are made to quantify limiting factors resulting from the coarse spatial resolution of data used for generating land cover information at regional and global levels. Sub-pixel fractional error matrices are introduced as a more appropriate way for assessing the accuracy of mixed pixels. For classification with coarse spatial resolution data, limitations of the classification method produce a maximum achievable accuracy defined as the average dominant land cover fraction of the mapped area. Relationships among spatial resolution, landscape heterogeneity and thematic resolution were studied and reported. Other factors that can affect accuracy, such as misregistration and legend conversion, are also discussed.

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