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 GEP  Vol.4 No.7 , July 2016
Developing an Automated Land Cover Classifier Using LiDAR and High Resolution Aerial Imagery
Abstract: The aim of this project is to create high resolution land cover classification as well as tree canopy density maps at a regional level using high resolution spatial data. Modeling and the data manipulation and analysis of LiDAR LAS point cloud dataset as well as multispectral aerial photographs from the National Agriculture Imagery Program (NAIP) were carried out. Using geoprocessing modeling, a land cover map is created based on filtered returns from LiDAR point cloud data (LAS dataset) to extract features based on their class and return values, and traditional classification methods of high resolution multi-spectral aerial photographs of the remaining ground cover for Clarion County in Pennsylvania. The newly developed model produced 7 classes at 10 ft × 10 ft spatial resolution, namely: water bodies, structures, streets and paved surfaces, bare ground, grassland, trees, and artificial surfaces (e.g. turf). The model was tested against areas with different sizes (townships and municipalities) which revealed a classification accuracy between 94% and 96%. A visual observation of the results shows that some tree-covered areas were misclassified as built up/structures due to the nature of the available LiDAR data, an area of improvement for further studies. Furthermore, a geoprocessing service was created in order to disseminate the results of the land cover classification as well as the tree canopy density calculation to a broader audience. The service was tested and delivered in the form of a web application where users can select an area of interest and the model produces the land cover and/or the tree canopy density results (http://maps.clarion.edu/LandCoverExtractor). The produced output can be printed as a final map layout with the highlighted area of interest and its corresponding legend. The interface also allows the download of the results of an area of interest for further investigation and/or analysis.
Cite this paper: Ayad, Y. (2016) Developing an Automated Land Cover Classifier Using LiDAR and High Resolution Aerial Imagery. Journal of Geoscience and Environment Protection, 4, 97-110. doi: 10.4236/gep.2016.47011.
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