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Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing, IEEE Journal of

Issue 3 • Date March 2014

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Displaying Results 1 - 25 of 36
  • Front cover

    Page(s): C1
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  • IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing publication information

    Page(s): C2
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  • Table of contents

    Page(s): 749 - 750
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  • Foreword to the Special Issue on the 14th International Conference on Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR2012)

    Page(s): 751 - 752
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  • Development of a New High Speed Dual-Channel Impulse Ground Penetrating Radar

    Page(s): 753 - 760
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1514 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    This paper presents the development of a dual channel, air coupled Ultra-Wideband (UWB) Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) targeting highway pavements and bridge deck inspections. Compared to most existing GPRs with a single channel and low survey speeds, our GPR possesses competitive features, including wide area coverage, high spatial resolution and operating capability at normal highway driving speed (up to 60 mph). The system has a two-channel microwave front end, a high speed (8 Gsps) real time data acquisition unit, a high throughput multithread data transmission and storage module, and a customized low-cost control element developed in a field-programmable gate array (FPGA). Experiments with different steel reinforcing bars establish GPR system performance. View full abstract»

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  • Development of an Airborne Ground Penetrating Radar System: Antenna Design, Laboratory Experiment, and Numerical Simulation

    Page(s): 761 - 766
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1376 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    A stepped-frequency continuous wave (SFCW) airborne ground penetrating radar (GPR) system was built using a vector network analyzer (VNA), an optical-to-electric ( mmb O/mmb E) converter, an electric-to-optical ( mmb E/mmb O) converter, and the resistively loaded planer dipole antennas. The resistively loaded antennas are based on the Altshuler discrete resistive loading approach. The distance from the loading point to the feeding point and the resistance has been optimized; in addition, a balun at the feeding point was introduced to convert the unbalanced signal from the coax to balanced signal. Test results show that the manufactured antennas have a wide bandwidth frequency range from 55 to 275 MHz. A laboratory experiment using the developed system was conducted in a building with high ceilings. The results registered all basic features including the ground, sub-ground surface, and the lamp hanging from the ceiling. Numerical modeling by finite-difference time-domain (FDTD) method using two-dimensional (2-D) transverse electric (TE) verifies the presence of these registered features in the measured airborne data. A bedrock outcrop in ice sheet model is reconstructed based on a piece of real airborne GPR data, the modeling profile results show excellent consistent with the observed data. The capability of airborne GPR detection of subsurface features is clearly validated. View full abstract»

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  • Semicircular Slot-Tuned Planar Half-Ellipse Antenna With a Shallow Vee-Cavity in Vital Sign Detection

    Page(s): 767 - 774
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    Ultrawideband (UWB) antenna is one critical part of the impulse radar system. In this paper, a shallow Vee-cavity shielded planar dipole antenna working at the center frequency of 400 MHz for UWB vital sign detection radar is investigated numerically and experimentally. It consists of two half-ellipse-shape arms tuned with four semicircular slots and a shallow Vee-cavity. The voltage standing wave ratio (VSWR), input impedance, and radiation waveforms are all analyzed. The resistive and slot loading techniques for improving impulse radiation and reducing late-time ringing are adopted. Several important parameters of the designed antenna have been studied. The influence of a shallow rectangular cavity and the proposed Vee-cavity on the antenna characteristics is also under consideration. Finally, one prototype antenna is fabricated and applied to UWB vital sign detection radar system. The experimental results indicate that the proposed half-ellipse antenna with a Vee-cavity works satisfactorily in the radar system. View full abstract»

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  • Remote Detection of Human Vital Sign With Stepped-Frequency Continuous Wave Radar

    Page(s): 775 - 782
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1769 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    The stepped-frequency continuous wave (SFCW) radar technique was used to detect cardio-respiratory signals as the vital sign from a human subject positioned behind obstacles under laboratory conditions. The experiments were organized with a number of detection scenarios by collecting data from a group of human subjects. The experiments also investigated the effect of varying thickness of the obstacles, human subject postures, status of breathing, position of radar antenna relative to human subject's chest, as well as the length of survey times. The experimental results have shown that respiration as the primary vital sign can be detected with very high confidence and should be highlighted in developing radar systems for search and rescue for earthquake disaster survivors. Among the four human subject postures of face up, face down, face left, and face right, detection of the cardiologic signals can solely be achieved possibly when the subject was facing up. When the radar antennas to be placed at certain offset, not directly above the human subject's chest, it is still possible for good detection of the breathing signal. The minimum recording time for extracting respiration signal can be as short as 5 s. Even be conservative, a period of 30 s should be long enough for catching the respiratory signal with high signal to noise ratio. View full abstract»

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  • Advanced Signal Processing for Vital Sign Extraction With Applications in UWB Radar Detection of Trapped Victims in Complex Environments

    Page(s): 783 - 791
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1931 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Ultra-wideband (UWB) radar plays an important role in search and rescue at disaster relief sites. Identifying vital signs and locating buried survivors are two important research contents in this field. In general, it is hard to identify a human's vital signs (breathing and heartbeat) in complex environments due to the low signal-to-noise ratio of the vital sign in radar signals. In this paper, advanced signal-processing approaches are used to identify and to extract human vital signs in complex environments. First, we apply Curvelet transform to remove the source-receiver direct coupling wave and background clutters. Next, singular value decomposition is used to de-noise in the life signals. Finally, the results are presented based on FFT and Hilbert-Huang transform to separate and to extract human vital sign frequencies, as well as the micro-Doppler shift characteristics. The proposed processing approach is first tested by a set of synthetic data generated by FDTD simulation for UWB radar detection of two trapped victims under debris at an earthquake site of collapsed buildings. Then, it is validated by laboratory experiments data. The results demonstrate that the combination of UWB radar as the hardware and advanced signal-processing algorithms as the software has potential for efficient vital sign detection and location in search and rescue for trapped victims in complex environment. View full abstract»

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  • Ground Clutter Removal in GPR Surveys

    Page(s): 792 - 798
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (879 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    In GPR prospecting, strong reflections due to the background material interface can hinder the detection of localized buried scatterers, especially when the targets are close (in terms of probing wavelength) to the interface. Moreover, signals due to objects located outside the investigated domain and occurring in the observation time window may dramatically affect the reliability of the results. In order to mitigate such kind of clutter, an entropy based approach has been recently proposed in the frame of intra-wall diagnostic. In this paper, we assess the performance of such an approach by processing experimental data collected in laboratory controlled conditions and referred for the challenging situation of shallower dielectric and metallic targets, whose back-scattered fields overlap in time with the air-soil interface signal. In addition, a performance comparison of the proposed method is performed with other two approaches, i.e., the mean subtraction method and the subspace projection procedure. View full abstract»

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  • Topographic Correction of Elevated GPR

    Page(s): 799 - 804
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1134 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    It is often advantageous to acquire ground-penetrating radar (GPR) measurements from antennas that are elevated above the ground surface, for example, in the detection of buried landmines. In this case, the electromagnetic (EM) wave always propagates through ground surface between the GPR and targets. Therefore, the variations of ground surface elevation will affect the propagation ray of EM wave. Accordingly, the subsurface target imaging will be deformed, especially the imaging in the horizontal slice, by the variations in elevation. In this study, we propose a fast method of topographic correction, which is based on the velocity model estimated by the elevated common midpoint GPR itself, to compensate the effects of variations in elevation. The method substitutes the air layer between the antenna and the ground with the soil layer by shifting the propagation time. The method was tested using experiment data acquired over a sloping ground surface under which a landmine model was shallowly buried. The result showed that the quality of target imaging was improved in slices, especially in the horizontal slice. View full abstract»

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  • Estimation of Soil Permittivity in Presence of Antenna-Soil Interactions

    Page(s): 805 - 812
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1727 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    This work deals with a technique for estimating the soil permittivity starting from Ground-Penetrating-Radar (GPR) measurements collected under a reflection mode single view (one transmitting antenna) multistatic (plurality of receivers) configuration. The technique consists of two steps: i) first the soil Fresnel reflection coefficient is estimated; ii) then the soil electromagnetic parameters are inferred from the retrieved reflection coefficient. In real scenarios, the transmitting antenna couples with the soil as it is in close proximity of the air-soil interface so that mutual interactions arise. Accordingly, the transmitting antenna plane-wave spectrum depends on the electromagnetic properties of the medium under investigation. This strongly complicates the problem as the first step becomes a non-linear inverse problem. To overcome such a drawback, a pre-processing stage consisting of a suitable time gating procedure is here introduced. This allows to restore linearity of the Fresnel coefficient estimation. Moreover, it is also able to mitigate negative effect due to not matched transmitting antenna. Numerical examples are presented to assess the feasibility of the proposed technique. View full abstract»

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  • A New Learning Method for Continuous Hidden Markov Models for Subsurface Landmine Detection in Ground Penetrating Radar

    Page(s): 813 - 819
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    A new learning algorithm based on Gibbs sampling to learn the parameters of continuous Hidden Markov Models (HMMs) with multivariate Gaussian mixtures is presented. The proposed sampling algorithm outperformed the standard expectation-maximization (EM) algorithm and a minimum classification error algorithm when applied to a synthetic data set. The proposed algorithm outperforms the state of the art when applied to landmine detection using ground penetrating radar (GPR) data. View full abstract»

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  • Measurement of Dielectric Permittivity and Thickness of Snow and Ice on a Brackish Lagoon Using GPR

    Page(s): 820 - 827
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (2194 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    We examine the use of ground penetrating radar (GPR) to simultaneously estimate snow and ice thickness. Since velocity is essential for depth inversion, we developed an automatic common mid-point (CMP) measurement system, which can work in an ultra-wide band. Envelope velocity spectrum, robust in reflection identification, is used to estimate the dielectric permittivity and layer thickness from CMP datasets. We tested our system on two 50-m-long test lines on a brackish lagoon, i.e., Lake Saroma, in Hokkaido, Japan, in February 2012. The first test line failed due to the existence of a radar-absorbing layer of a mixture of snow and seawater between the snow cover and sea ice. The estimated dielectric permittivity of both snow and ice on the second test line seems to be highly correlated with their surface temperature. Compared with the ground truth, the snow and ice thickness estimations possess a good accuracy, with a respective mean absolute error of about 2 cm (12%) and less than 2 cm (4%), which verifies the accuracy of their dielectric permittivity estimation. Then the estimated two-layer velocity model obtained by interpolation was used to continuously estimate the snow and ice thickness from the common-offset (CO) GPR profile acquired by a commercial GPR system. Our system and method appear capable of accurately measuring the dielectric permittivity and thickness of other layered media. View full abstract»

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  • An Improved Post-Processing Technique for Array-Based Detection of Underground Tunnels

    Page(s): 828 - 837
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (2678 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    This paper investigates challenges faced by many geophysical algorithms applied to real-world cases such as the Attenuation Analysis of Rayleigh Waves (AARW). AARW shows great promise in terms of detecting shallow underground tunnels. However, in-situ subsurface anomalies, including those due to anisotropy, and instrument sensitivity to natural conditions can significantly degrade the utility of this technique. To address this problem, this work proposes a data acquisition scheme and develops a new post-processing approach. The first applied measure estimates the confidence level of each detection result. The second processes the data in sub-arrays, and filters out false alarms. The third scans all detections and searches the cluster with the highest cumulative confidence level. This paper provides engineering practitioners with a simple and efficient method to reliably determine tunnel locations. Experimental results derived from data recorded in various testing sites and surface conditions verify the effectiveness of this work. View full abstract»

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  • Modeling the Propagation of Diffusive-Viscous Waves Using Flux-Corrected Transport–Finite-Difference Method

    Page(s): 838 - 844
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1418 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Seismic numerical modeling is a technique for simulating the wave propagation in the earth. The aim is to predict the seismogram, given an assumed structure of the subsurface. Real subsurface structure is complex and often multi-phase media because of fluid saturation, so the commonly used models such as acoustic, elastic media, etc., cannot characterize the information of real subsurface structure. The anelastic attenuation occurs when the waves propagate in fluid-saturated media. The diffusive-viscous model can be used to describe the attenuation of seismic waves propagating in fluid-saturated rocks, and it is also used to investigate the relationship between the frequency dependence of reflections and fluid saturation in a porous medium. In this paper, we derive the finite-difference scheme for the diffusive-viscous wave equation and simulate the propagation of seismic waves in fluid-saturated media based on the diffusive-viscous model, using the flux-corrected transport-finite-difference method (FCT-FDM). The numerical results show that the propagating waves in fluid-saturated media greatly attenuate by comparing with those of acoustic case. View full abstract»

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  • Geophysical Signal Parameterization and Filtering Using the fractional Fourier Transform

    Page(s): 845 - 852
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    The fractional Fourier transform (FrFT) domain operations offer an alternative to the conventional Fourier Transform (FT) in signal processing, especially for seismic data. It is shown that subsurface reflection events in a two-dimensional (time-spatial) seismic data behave like linear chirps for each frequency in the frequency-spatial domain. Since the FrFT kernel is a set of linear chirps, frequency-spatial domain seismic data processing is better suited using the FrFT than the FT. An analytical relationship between linear seismic events and FrFT parameters is derived and illustrated with an example. Seismic data from a field survey is used to show that the FrFT filtering performs better in coherent noise attenuation than the FT. View full abstract»

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  • A Comparison of Pixel- and Object-Based Glacier Classification With Optical Satellite Images

    Page(s): 853 - 862
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    Precise information about the size and spatial distribution of glaciers is needed for many research applications, for example water resources evaluation, determination of glacier specific changes in area and volume, and for calculation of the past and future contribution of glaciers to sea-level change. However, mapping glacier outlines is challenging even under optimal conditions due to time consuming manual corrections of wrongly classified pixels. In the last decades, advantages in computer technologies have led to the development of object-based-image analysis (OBIA), an image classification technique that can be seen as an alternative to the common pixel-based image analysis (PBIA). In this study we compare the performance of OBIA with PBIA for glacier mapping in three test regions with challenging mapping conditions. In both approaches, a ratio image was created to map clean snow and ice while thermal and slope information was used to assist in the identification of debris-covered ice. The mapping results of OBIA have overall a ~ 3% higher quality than PBIA, in particular in the processing of debris-covered glaciers where OBIA has a 12% higher accuracy. The post-processing possibilities in OBIA (e.g., the application of a processing loop and neighborhood analysis) are especially powerful to improve the final classification. This leads also to a reduction of the workload for the manual corrections, which are still required to achieve a sufficient accuracy. View full abstract»

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  • Effect of Ice Shelf Changes on Ice Sheet Volume Change in the Amundsen Sea Embayment, West Antarctica

    Page(s): 863 - 871
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1534 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    We derived elevation changes of the Geoscience Laser Altimeter System level-2 altimetry data from repeat tracks in the Amundsen Sea Embayment during 2004 to 2008. Then, we created four grid surfaces. Changes of ice shelf fronts in the study area were extracted from MODIS/Terra Calibrated Radiances Level-1B at 250-m resolution to analyze the relationship between ice shelf and ice sheet change. The results show the average volume change of the study area is about -92.8 km3/a. The obvious regions of the elevation decrease mainly located near the coastline, and the diversity of the ice volume loss corresponding to an elevation reduction exceeding 2 m was distinct between different periods. By analyzing the ice volume losses of the ice shelves and the large glaciers in the Amundsen Sea Embayment, we found the thinning of the ice shelf may result in the volume loss of the ice sheet, especially the thinning near the grounding line into which the glaciers flow. Because of this, the retreat of an ice shelf may cause the accelerated volume loss of the ice sheet, and the glacier buttressing ability of the fragmented ice shelf is weaker than that of unrifted or fractured large ice shelves. View full abstract»

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  • Categorization of the Glaciated Terrain of Indian Himalaya Using CP and FP Mode SAR

    Page(s): 872 - 880
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (2525 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    This paper presents the comparison between the potential of synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data in compact polarimetry (CP) versus the fully polarimetric POLSAR mode (FP) for glacier areas. The eigenvalue-based constructed parameters, decompositions and supervised classification schemes were used for this inter-comparison. The comparison is focused on compact polarimetric techniques versus full polarimetric techniques based on both of qualitative and quantitative analysis of the glaciated parameters extraction. Overall performance of CP mode is lower than FP mode for glaciated terrain parameter extraction. Furthermore, it was found over the part of rugged Gangotri glaciated terrain, Indian Himalaya that the reconstruction pseudo polarimetry data is erroneous and highly biased because of data sets do not satisfy the pseudo polarimetric reconstruction conditions in the glaciated terrain. View full abstract»

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  • Anomalous Variability in Antarctic Sea Ice Extents During the 1960s With the Use of Nimbus Data

    Page(s): 881 - 887
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    The Nimbus I, II, and III satellites provide a new opportunity for climate studies in the 1960s. The rescue of the visible and infrared imager data resulted in the utilization of the early Nimbus data to determine sea ice extent. A qualitative analysis of the early NASA Nimbus missions has revealed Antarctic sea ice extents that are significant larger and smaller than the historic 1979-2012 passive microwave record. The September 1964 ice mean area is 19.7 × 106 km2± 0.3 × 106 km2. This is more the 250,000 km2 greater than the 19.44 × 106 km2 seen in the new 2012 historic maximum. However, in August 1966 the maximum sea ice extent fell to 15.9 × 106 km2 ± 0.3 × 106 km2. This is more than 1.5 × 106 km2 below the passive microwave record of 17.5 × 10 6 km2 set in September of 1986. This variation between 1964 and 1966 represents a change of maximum sea ice of over 3 × 106 km2 in just two years. These inter-annual variations while large, are small when compared to the Antarctic seasonal cycle. View full abstract»

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  • Unsupervised Multi-Spectral Satellite Image Segmentation Combining Modified Mean-Shift and a New Minimum Spanning Tree Based Clustering Technique

    Page(s): 888 - 894
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1410 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    An unsupervised object based segmentation, combining a modified mean-shift (MS) and a novel minimum spanning tree (MST) based clustering approach of remotely sensed satellite images has been proposed in this correspondence. The image is first pre-processed by a modified version of the standard MS based segmentation which preserves the desirable discontinuities present in the image and guarantees oversegmentation in the output. A nearest neighbor based method for estimating the bandwidth of the kernel density estimator (KDE) and a novel termination condition have been incorporated into the standard MS. Considering the segmented regions as nodes in a low level feature space, an MST is constructed. An unsupervised technique to cluster a given MST has also been devised here. This type of hybrid segmentation technique which clusters the regions instead of image pixels reduces greatly the sensitivity to noise and enhances the overall segmentation performance. The superiority of the proposed method has been experimented on a large set of multi-spectral images and compared with some well-known hybrid segmentation models. View full abstract»

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  • SIGRI Project: Products Validation Results

    Page(s): 895 - 905
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1689 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    The pilot project SIGRI (Sistema Integrato per la Gestione del Rischio Incendi) of the Italian Space Agency aims at developing an integrated system for the management of wildfires. The system provides satellite-based products capable of assisting in all phases of fire combat activities: forecast, detection, damage assessment, and recovery. The SIGRI goals were achieved by implementing consolidated methodologies, and/or developing innovative tools and methods for the automated analysis of multispectral, Synthetic Aperture Radar, and non-EO data. This paper focuses on the testing and validation of algorithms developed during the final phase of SIGRI. The validation of the products generated is an important phase in which their potential is assessed, and algorithms are calibrated. We discuss the results of the validation process of the main chain of unsupervised products: Modified Fire Probability Index by multispectral moderate resolution data (prevention), early detection of fire Hot Spots by multispectral very-high temporal resolution data (response), and identification and mapping of Burn Scars (damage assessment) by high-spatial resolution electro-optical and Synthetic Aperture Radar data. View full abstract»

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  • Spatial Multi-Objective Optimization Approach for Land Use Allocation Using NSGA-II

    Page(s): 906 - 916
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1743 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    Analysis and evaluation of land use patterns are of prime importance for natural resources management. Recent studies on land use allocation have been mainly based on linear programming optimization. Although these methods have the ability to solve multi-objective problems, spatial aspects of optimization are not considered when they are used for land use management. This study applied the non-dominated sorting genetic algorithm II (NSGA-II) to optimize land-use allocation in the Taleghan watershed, northwest of Karaj, Iran. The four land use classes of irrigated farming, dry farming, rangeland, and other uses were extracted from the ETM+ image. The objective functions of the proposed model were erosion, economic return, suitability, and compactness-compatibility. A novel crossover operator called exchange randomly block (ERB) was used to exchange information between individuals. Results showed that the optimization model can find a set of optimal land use combinations in accordance with the proposed conditions. For comparison purposes, land use allocation was also done using the combined goal attainment-multi-objective land allocation (GoA-MOLA) approach. The results showed that NSGA-II performance acceptably when compared to GoA-MOLA. View full abstract»

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  • Design of a Spectral–Spatial Pattern Recognition Framework for Risk Assessments Using Landsat Data—A Case Study in Chile

    Page(s): 917 - 928
    Save to Project icon | Request Permissions | Click to expandQuick Abstract | PDF file iconPDF (1656 KB) |  | HTML iconHTML  

    For many ecological applications of remote sensing, traditional multispectral data with moderate spatial and spectral resolution have to be used. Typical examples are land-use change or deforestation assessments. The study sites are frequently too large and the timespan covered too long assumes the availability of modern datasets such as very high resolution or hyperspectral data. However, in traditional datasets such as Landsat data, separability of the relevant classes is limited. A promising approach is to describe the landscape context pixels that are integrated. For this purpose, multiscale context features are computed. Then, spectral-spatial classification is employed. However, such approaches require sophisticated processing techniques. This study exemplifies these issues by designing an entire framework for exploiting context features. The framework uses kernel-based classifiers which are unified by a multiple classifier system and further improved by conditional random fields. Accuracy on three scenarios is raised between 19.0%pts and 26.6%pts. Although the framework is designed, focusing an application in Chile, it is generally enough to be applied to similar scenarios. View full abstract»

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Aims & Scope

IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing (J-STARS) addresses current issues and techniques in applied remote and in situ sensing, their integration, and applied modeling and information creation for understanding the Earth.

Full Aims & Scope

Meet Our Editors

Editor-in-Chief
Dr. Jocelyn Chanussot
Grenoble Institute of Technology