Assessment of SPOT 5 and QuickBird remotely sensed imagery for mapping tree cover in savannas

Guy Boggs

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The relative abundance and distribution of trees in savannas has important implications for ecosystem function. High spatial resolution satellite sensors, including QuickBird and IKONOS, have been successfully used to map tree cover patterns in savannas. SPOT 5, with a 2.5 m panchromatic band and 10 m multispectral bands, represents a relatively coarse resolution sensor within this context, but has the advantage of being relatively inexpensive and more widely available. This study evaluates the performance of NDVI threshold and object based image analysis techniques for mapping tree canopies from QuickBird and SPOT 5 imagery in two savanna systems in southern Africa. High thematic mapping accuracies were obtained with the QuickBird imagery, independent of mapping technique. Geometric properties of the mapping indicated that the NDVI threshold produced smaller patch sizes, but that overall patch size distributions were similar. Tree canopy mapping using SPOT 5 imagery and an NDVI threshold approach performed poorly, however acceptable thematic accuracies were obtained from the object based image analysis. Although patch sizes were generally larger than those mapped from the QuickBird image data, patch size distributions mapped with object based image analysis of SPOT 5 have a similar form to the QuickBirdmapping. This indicates that SPOT 5 imagery is suitable for regional studies of tree canopy cover patterns.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)217-224
    Number of pages8
    JournalInternational Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Aug 2010


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