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Considerable progress was recently made in the determination of urban morphologies or structural types from different Earth observation (EO) datasets. A relevant field of application for such methods is urban climatology, since specific urban morphologies produce distinct microclimates. However, application and comparability are so far limited by the variety of typologies used for the description of urban surfaces in EO. In this study Local Climate Zones (LCZ), a system of thermally homogenous urban structures introduced by Stewart and Oke, was used in a pixel-based classification approach. Further, different EO datasets (including satellite multitemporal thermal and multispectral data as well as a normalized digital surface model (NDSM) from airborne Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar) and different classifiers (including Support Vector Machines, Neural Networks and Random Forest) were evaluated for their performance in a common framework. Especially the multitemporal thermal and spectral features yielded high potential for the discrimination of LCZ, but morphological profiles from the NDSM also performed well. Further, sets of 10-100 features were selected with the Minimum Redundancy Maximal Relevance approach from multiple EO data. Overall classification accuracies of up to 97.4% and 95.3% were obtained with a Neural Network and a Random Forest classifier respectively. This provides some evidence that LCZ can be derived from multiple EO data. Hence, we propose the typology and the method for the application of automated extraction of urban structures in urban climatology. Further the chosen multiple EO data and classifiers seemed to yield considerable potential for an automated classification of LCZ.
Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing, IEEE Journal of (Volume:5 , Issue: 4 )
Date of Publication: Aug. 2012