Drone-based land-cover mapping using a fuzzy unordered rule induction algorithm integrated into object-based image analysis

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Journal Article
International Journal of Remote Sensing, 2017, 38 (8-10), pp. 2535 - 2556
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© 2017 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. Land-cover maps provide essential data for a wide range of practical and small-scale applications. A number of data sources appropriate for land-cover extraction are available. Among these, images captured using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are low cost, have very high resolution, and can be acquired at any time with few restrictions. Over the past two decades, various classification techniques have been developed to extract land-cover features from UAV images, and object-based image analysis (OBIA) is the preferred technique based on the recent literature. This study presents a novel method that integrates the fuzzy unordered rule induction algorithm (FURIA) into OBIA to achieve accurate land-cover extraction from UAV images. The images were segmented using a multiresolution segmentation algorithm with an optimized scale parameter. The scale parameter was optimized using a novel approach that integrated feature space optimization into the plateau objective function. During the classification stage, significant features were selected via random forest, and rule sets were developed using FURIA. For comparison, result of the proposed approach was compared with those of decision tree (DT) rules and the Support Vector Machine (SVM) classification method. The results of this study indicate that the proposed method outperforms DT and SVM with an overall accuracy of 91.23%. A transferability evaluation showed that FURIA achieved accurate classification results on different UAV image subsets captured at different times. The findings suggest that fuzzy rules are more appropriate than conventional crisp rules for land-cover extraction from UAV images.
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