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A system for a regular updating of land-cover maps is proposed that is based on the use of multitemporal remote sensing images. Such a system is able to address the updating problem under the realistic but critical constraint that, for the image to be classified (i.e., the most recent of the considered multitemporal dataset) no ground truth information is available. The system is composed of an ensemble of partially unsupervised classifiers integrated in a multiple-classifier architecture. Each classifier of the ensemble exhibits the following novel characteristics: (1) it is developed in the framework of the cascade-classification approach to exploit the temporal correlation existing between images acquired at different times in the considered area; and (2) it is based on a partially unsupervised methodology capable of accomplishing the classification process under the aforementioned critical constraint. Both a parametric maximum-likelihood (ML) classification approach and a nonparametric radial basis function (RBF) neural-network classification approach are used as basic methods for the development of partially unsupervised cascade classifiers. In addition, in order to generate an effective ensemble of classification algorithms, hybrid ML and RBF neural-network cascade classifiers are defined by exploiting the characteristics of the cascade-classification methodology. The results yielded by the different classifiers are combined by using standard unsupervised combination strategies. This allows the definition of a robust and accurate partially unsupervised classification system capable of analyzing a wide typology of remote sensing data (e.g., images acquired by passive sensors, synthetic aperture radar images, and multisensor and multisource data). Experimental results obtained on a real multitemporal and multisource dataset confirm the effectiveness of the proposed system.
Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on (Volume:40 , Issue: 9 )
Date of Publication: Sep 2002