Lecture 6 Image Classification

Unsupervised Classification:  In many cases you don¶t have the necessary beforehand knowledge of the land cover needed to perform a supervised classification in which case an unsupervised classification can be used. - the definition, identification, labeling, and mapping of natural classes with respect to brightness in several spectral channels; General steps  Automatic grouping of pixels into similar spectral classes (e.g. the ISODATA clustering algorithm).  Label spectral classes into information classes (i.e. Land cover classes).  Perform accuracy assessment
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Classification involving algorithms that examine the unknown pixels in an image;  Pixels then aggregated into a number of classes based on the natural groupings or clusters present in the image values;  Values within a given cover type should be close together in the measurement space, whereas data in different classes should be comparatively well separated - basic premise ;  The resulting classes are spectral classes;  Initial identification of spectral classes are not known because they are based sole on natural grouping;

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Analysis must compare classified data with some reference data e.g. large scale images or maps;  In supervised classification useful information categories are first defined then examination of their separability is done;  In unsupervised classification separability is first determined then definition of their informational utility;

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Approaches to Unsupervised Classification:  Classification Algorithm:  Distance measurement:  Classification of an entire image must consider thousands of pixels;  To find grouping of pixels, the distance between pairs of pixels are calculated;  The simplest method is Euclidean distance ± based on Pythagorean theorem c = ¥a2 + b2  Finding the distance a, b, and c which are measured in units of the two spectral channels;

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In relation to other distances this form a means of defining similarities between pixels;  For example, if the distance ab = 40.5 and ac = 86.3 the we know A is closer and therefore similar to B than it is to C;  The group should be formed between A and B rather than A and C

The measure can be applied to as many dimensions (spectral channels as might be available, by addition of distances e.g. above

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Thousands of distance calculations made as a means of determining similarities;  Proceeds in an interactive fashion to search for an optimal allocation of pixel categories, given the constraints specified by the analysis;

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K-means Approach:  The number of clusters are set by the analyst ± location of that number of cluster centers in multidimensional space is then calculated;  Pixel are assigned to the cluster whose arbitrary mean vector is closest;  After assigning pixels to a cluster the mean vectors for each clusters are revised and computed;  Revised means used as a basis to reclassify the image ± minimization of within group variation and maximizing between group variation;  This procedure is continued until there is no significant changes in the location of class mean vectors between successive iterations as the classes meet all the constraints required by the operator;

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At this point the analyst determines the land cover for each spectral class;  Often applied to sub-areas rather than full scenes;  Training statistics developed for combining classes are used to classify the entire scene (e.g. minimum distance or maximum likehood algorithm) ± called hybrid classification using both supervised and unsupervised techniques;  Hybrid classification helps when there are complex variability in spectral response due to variation in species (i.e. cover type) and different site condition (soils, slope, aspect);

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Accuracy Assessment: 
A classification is not finished before the accuracy of the map has been assessed;  Visually  A simple visual inspection ± does the map look like the real world;  Confusion matrix (Error Matrix)  A table that shows how individual classes is classified in relation to a set of reference data (test data);

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Sources of Classification Error: 
Classification error is the assignment of a pixel belonging to one category to another category during the classification process  The simplest causes of error are related to misassignment of information categories to spectral categories;  Mixed pixels occur as resolution elements fall on the boundaries between landscape parcels;  Compiling the Error Matrix:  Comparison of two images ± the reference image and the image to be evaluated on a point-by-point basis;

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Determination of how each site on the reference image is represented in the classification;  Comparison between image and a map depicting field verified data;  A network of uniform cells will form the units of comparison, small enough to provide enough cell for statistically valid samples and avoiding mixed cells;  Images are superimposed for compilation manually or digitally using a computer;  If differences are due to one being more detailed, the more detailed map can be collapsed into more general classes

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Overall Accuracy: The simple expression is:  The number of correctly classified pixels in relation to the total number of pixels;  Should be in the order of at least 70-80%  A good classification has an overall accuracy greater than 85%

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Producers Accuracy:  The Producer is you;  Interested in how well a certain class is classified;  Therefore the producer wants to know how many reference pixels for a certain class that has been correctly classified;

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Users Accuracy:  The user is the final reader of the map;  Interested in how well a certain class on the map actually represent that class on the ground;  Therefore the user wants to know how many reference pixels for a certain class has been correctly classified; - a guide to the reliability of the map as a predictive tool;

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The Confusion Matrix

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Advantages of Unsupervised Classification: No extensive prior knowledge of the region is required: Opportunity for human error is minimized: Unique classes are recognized as distinct units: Disadvantages and Limitations: May identify spectrally homogeneous classes in the data that does not necessarily correspond to the information of interest to the analysis; Limited control over the menu of classes and their specific identity; Spectral properties of specific informational classes will change over time;

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Field Data:  Defining the relationship between image data and corresponding points on the ground;  Acquiring data suitable for specific tasks and establishing with confidence the relationship between the image and condition on the ground; Kinds of Field Data:  Field data serves one of three purposes; i. To verify, evaluate or assess the results of RS investigation; ii. Provision of reliable data to guide the analytical process e.g. creating training field to support supervised classification;

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iii. Provision of information used to model spectral behavior of specific landscape features e.g. plants, soil, water bodies;  Field data must contain at least three kinds of information; i. attributes or measurements that describe ground conditions at a specific place e.g. identification of specific crop or land use; ii. Observations must be linked to location and size e.g. slope, aspect, and elevation; - matching attributes to corresponding points in the image;
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iii. Observation must be describe with respect to time and date;  Complete field data also includes other data e.g. weather, illumination, calibration information for instruments etc.  The purpose of field data is to facilitate reconstruction in as much detail as possible, of ground and atmospheric conditions at the time and place the image was taken;

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Biophysical data:  Measurement of physical characteristics collected in the field e.g. type, size, form, spacing of plants etc.;  Specific to the purpose of the study ± typically include characteristics such as, leaf area index (LAI), biomass, soil texture, and soil moisture;  Measurements vary over time therefore careful records of time, date, location, and weather condition is necessary;

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