Integration of Ant Colony Optimization and Object-Based Analysis for LiDAR Data Classification

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Journal Article
IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing, 2017, 10 (5), pp. 2055 - 2066
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© 2017 IEEE. Light detection and ranging (LiDAR) data classification provides useful thematic maps for numerous geospatial applications. Several methods and algorithms have been proposed recently for LiDAR data classification. Most studies focused on object-based analysis because of its advantages over per-pixel-based methods. However, several issues, such as parameter optimization, attribute selection, and development of transferable rulesets, remain challenging in this topic. This study contributes to LiDAR data classification by developing an approach that integrates ant colony optimization (ACO) and rule-based classification. First, LiDAR-derived digital elevation and digital surface models were integrated with high-resolution orthophotos. Second, the processed raster was segmented with the multiresolution segmentation method. Subsequently, the parameters were optimized with a supervised technique based on fuzzy analysis. A total of 20 attributes were selected based on general knowledge on the study area and LiDAR data; the best subset containing 12 attributes was then selected via ACO. These attributes were utilized to develop rulesets through the use of a decision tree algorithm, and a thematic map was generated for the study area. Results revealed the robustness of the proposed method, which has an overall accuracy of ∼95% and a kappa coefficient of 0.94. The rule-based approach with all attributes and the k nearest neighbor (KNN) classification method were applied to validate the results of the proposed method. The overall accuracy of the rule-based method with all attributes was ∼88% (kappa = 0.82), whereas the KNN method had an overall accuracy of <70% and produced a poor thematic map. The selection of the ACO algorithm was justified through a comparison with three well-known feature selection methods. On the other hand, the transferability of the developed rules was evaluated by using a second LiDAR dataset at another study area. The overall accuracy and the kappa index for the second study area were 92% and 0.90, respectively. Overall, the findings indicate that the selection of a subset with significant attributes is important for accurate LiDAR data classification with object-based methods.
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