Comparing object-based and pixel-based classifications for mapping savannas

Timothy Whiteside, Guy Boggs, Stefan Maier

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The development of robust object-based classification methods suitable for medium to high resolution satellite imagery provides a valid alternative to 'traditional' pixel-based methods. This paper compares the results of an object-based classification to a supervised per-pixel classification for mapping land cover in the tropical north of the Northern Territory of Australia. The object-based approach involved segmentation of image data into objects at multiple scale levels. Objects were assigned classes using training objects and the Nearest Neighbour supervised and fuzzy classification algorithm. The supervised pixel-based classification involved the selection of training areas and a classification using the maximum likelihood classifier algorithm. Site-specific accuracy assessment using confusion matrices of both classifications were undertaken based on 256 reference sites. A comparison of the results shows a statistically significant higher overall accuracy of the object-based classification over the pixel-based classification. The incorporation of a digital elevation model (DEM) layer and associated class rules into the objectbased classification produced slightly higher accuracies overall and for certain classes; however this was not statistically significant over the object-based using spectral information solely. The results indicate object-based analysis has good potential for extracting land cover information from satellite imagery captured over spatially heterogeneous land covers of tropical Australia.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)884-893
    Number of pages10
    JournalInternational Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - 2011


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