Exploring the utility of the additional WorldView-2 bands and support vector machines in mapping land use/land cover in a fragmented ecosystem, South Africa

  • Galal Omer
  • Onisimo Mutanga
  • Elfatih M Abdel-Rahman
  • Elhadi Adam
Keywords: land use/cover classification, fragmented ecosystem, WorldView-2, support vector machines


Land use/land cover (LULC) classification is a key research field in environmental applications of remote  sensing on the earthfs surface. The advent of new high resolution multispectral sensors with unique bands has  provided an opportunity to map the spatial distribution of detailed LULC classes over a large fragmented area. The objectives of the present study were: (1) to map LULC classes using multispectral WorldView-2 (WV-2) data and SVM in a fragmented ecosystem; and (2) to compare the accuracy of three WV-2 spectral data sets in distinguishing amongst various LULC classes in a fragmented ecosystem. WV-2 image was spectrally  resized to its four standard bands (SB: blue, green, red and near infrared-1) and four strategically located  bands (AB: coastal blue, yellow, red edge and near infrared-2). WV-2 image (8bands: 8B) together with SB and AB subsets were used to classify LULC using support vector machines. Overall classification accuracies of 78.0% (total disagreement = 22.0%) for 8B, 51.0% (total disagreement = 49.0%) for SB, and 64.0% (total disagreement = 36.0%) for AB were achieved. There were significant differences between the performance of all WV-2 subset pair comparisons (8B versus SB, 8B versus AB and SB versus AB) as demonstrated by the results of McNemarfs test (Z score .1.96). This study concludes that WV-2 multispectral data and the SVM classifier have the potential to map LULC classes in a fragmented ecosystem. The study also offers relatively accurate information that is important for the indigenous forest managers in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa for making informed decisions regarding conservation and management of LULC patterns.

Keywords: land use/cover classification, fragmented ecosystem, WorldView-2, support vector  machines