Boosted decision tree classifications of land cover over Turkey integrating MODIS, climate and topographic data

EVRENDİLEK F., Gulbeyaz O.

INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF REMOTE SENSING, vol.32, no.12, pp.3461-3483, 2011 (Peer-Reviewed Journal) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 32 Issue: 12
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Doi Number: 10.1080/01431161003749469
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded, Scopus
  • Page Numbers: pp.3461-3483


This study investigates the impact of using different combinations of Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) and ancillary datasets on overall and per-class classification accuracies for nine land cover types modified from the classification system of the International Geosphere Biosphere Programme (IGBP). Twelve land cover maps were generated for Turkey using boosted decision trees (BDTs) based on the stepwise addition of 14 explanatory variables derived from a time series of 16-day MODIS composites between 2000 and 2006 (Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) and four spectral bands) and ancillary climate and topographic data (minimum and maximum air temperature, precipitation, potential evapotranspiration, aspect, elevation, distance to sea and slope) at 500-m resolution. Evaluation of the 12 BDTs indicated that the BDT built as a function of all the MODIS and climate variables, aspect and elevation produced the highest degree of overall classification accuracy (79.8%) and kappa statistic (0.76) followed by the BDTs that additionally included distance to sea (DtS), and both DtS and slope. Based on an independent validation dataset derived from a pre-existing national forest map and Landsat images of Turkey, the highest overall accuracy (64.7%) and kappa coefficient (0.58) among the 12 land cover maps was achieved by using MODIS-derived NDVI time series only, followed by NDVI and EVI time series combined; NDVI, EVI and four MODIS spectral bands; and the combination of all MODIS and climate data, aspect, elevation and distance to sea, respectively. The largest improvements in producer's accuracies were observed for grasslands (+50%), barrenlands (+46%) and mixed forests (+39%) and in user's accuracies for grasslands (+53%), shrublands (+30%) and mixed forests (+28%), in relation to the lowest producer's accuracy. The results of this study indicate that BDTs can increase the accuracy of land cover classifications at the national scale.