This paper investigates the effectiveness of an advanced classification system for accurate crop classification using very high resolution (VHR) satellite imagery. Specifically, a recently proposed genetic fuzzy rule-based classification system (GFRBCS) is employed, namely, the Hierarchical Rule-based Linguistic Classifier (HiRLiC). HiRLiC’s model comprises a small set of simple IF–THEN fuzzy rules, easily interpretable by humans. One of its most important attributes is that its learning algorithm requires minimum user interaction, since the most important learning parameters affecting the classification accuracy are determined by the learning algorithm automatically. HiRLiC is applied in a challenging crop classification task, using a SPOT5 satellite image over an intensively cultivated area in a lake-wetland ecosystem in northern Greece. A rich set of higher-order spectral and textural features is derived from the initial bands of the (pan-sharpened) image, resulting in an input space comprising 119 features. The experimental analysis proves that HiRLiC compares favorably to other interpretable classifiers of the literature, both in terms of structural complexity and classification accuracy. Its testing accuracy was very close to that obtained by complex state-of-the-art classification systems, such as the support vector machines (SVM) and random forest (RF) classifiers. Nevertheless, visual inspection of the derived classification maps shows that HiRLiC is characterized by higher generalization properties, providing more homogeneous classifications that the competitors. Moreover, the runtime requirements for producing the thematic map was orders of magnitude lower than the respective for the competitors.
The aim of this work was to produce water quality parameter maps for the marine area of the Danube Delta using remotely sensed data and to validate the results with in-situ measurements. For this reason, satellite images from ENVISAT/MERIS and Aqua/MODIS were used along with collocated in-situ measurements. The latter were in-sync with the satellite images acquisition so that rigorous and validation could be performed. Chlorophyll-a concentration and total suspended matter were estimated using the CASE-II algorithm and MERIS satellite images, while sea surface temperature was estimated from MODIS Ocean Team products. The results show that the satellite images covered the study area completely, with some data gaps due to cloud coverage. Comparisons show a good correspondence with in-situ measurements. Thus, the time series of satellite images that was produced suggests that it is possible to monitor the biological changes on an operational basis. The produced maps described a detailed spatial pattern of chlorophyll-a and total suspended matter that could not have been identified from the sparse in-situ measurements.
Leaf Area Index (LAI) is considered to be a key parameter of ecosystem processes and it is widely used as input to biogeochemical process models that predict net primary production (NPP) or can be a useful parameter for crop yield prediction and crop stress assessment as well as estimation of the exchanges of carbon dioxide, water, and nutrients in forests. LAI can be derived from satellite optical data using models referred to physical-based approaches, which describe the physical processes of energy flow in the soil-vegetation-atmosphere system, and models using empirically derived regression relationships based on spectral vegetation indices (VIs). The first category of models are more general in application because they can account for the different sources of variability, although in many cases the information needed to constrain model inputs is not available. In contrast, empirical models depend on the site and time. The aim of this paper is to create a reliable semi-empirical method, applied in two Mediterranean sites, to estimate LAI with high spatial resolution images. The model uses a minimum dataset of a Landsat 5 TM or SPOT 4 XS image, land cover map and DEM for each area. Specifically, this model calculates the reflectance of initial bands implementing topographic correction with the aid of DEM and metadata of the images and afterwards uses a list of NDVI values that correspond to certain LAI values on different land cover types which has been proposed by the MODIS Land Team. This model has been applied in two areas; in the river basin of Nestos (Greece and Bulgaria) and in the river basin of Tamega (Portugal). The predicted LAI map was validated with ground truth data from hemispherical images showing high correlation, with r reaching 0.79 and RMSE less than 1 m<sup>2</sup>/m<sup>2</sup>.