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UAV-based training for fully fuzzy classification of Sentinel-2 fluvial scenes.

Carbonneau, P.E. and Belletti, B. and Micotti, M. and Lastoria, B. and Casaioli, M. and Mariani, S. and Marchetti, G. and Bizzi, S. (2020) 'UAV-based training for fully fuzzy classification of Sentinel-2 fluvial scenes.', Earth surface processes and landforms., 45 (13). pp. 3120-3140.


An estimated 76% of global stream area is occupied by channels with widths above 30 meters. Sentinel‐2 imagery with resolutions of 10m could supply information about the composition of river corridors at national and global scales. Fuzzy classification models that infer sub‐pixel composition could further be used to compensate for small channel widths imaged at 10m of spatial resolution. A major challenge to this approach is the acquisition of suitable training data useable in machine learning models that can predict land‐cover type information from image radiance values. In this contribution, we present a method which combines unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and Sentinel‐2 imagery in order to develop a fuzzy classification approach capable of large‐scale investigations. Our approach uses hyperspatial UAV imagery in order to derive high resolution class information that can be used to train fuzzy classification models for Sentinel‐2 data where all bands are super‐resolved to a spatial resolution of 10 meters. We use a multi‐temporal UAV dataset covering an area of 5.25 km2. Using a novel Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) classifier, we predict sub‐pixel membership for Sentinel‐2 pixels in the fluvial corridor as divided into classes of water, vegetation and dry sediment. Our CNN model can predict fuzzy class memberships with median errors from ‐5% to +3% and mean absolute errors from 10% to 20%. We also show that our CNN fuzzy predictor can be used to predict crisp classes with accuracies from 95.5% to 99.9%. Finally, we use an example to show how a fuzzy CNN model trained with localised UAV data can be applied to longer channel reaches and detect new vegetation growth. We therefore argue that the novel use of UAVs as field validation tools for freely available satellite data can bridge the scale gap between local and regional fluvial studies

Item Type:Article
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Publisher statement:© 2020 The Authors. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Date accepted:03 July 2020
Date deposited:09 July 2020
Date of first online publication:18 August 2020
Date first made open access:03 November 2020

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