Marine Science Faculty Publications

Improved Coastal Wetland Mapping Using Very-High 2-Meter Spatial Resolution Imagery

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Publication Date



Landsat 8 OLI, Mangroves, Tampa Bay, Wetlands, WorldView-2

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Accurate wetlandmapsare a fundamental requirement for land usemanagementand for wetland restoration planning. Several wetland map products are available today; most of them based on remote sensing images, but their different data sources and mapping methods lead to substantially different estimations of wetland location and extent. We used two very high-resolution (2m) WorldView-2 satellite images and one (30m) Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) image to assess wetland coverage in two coastal areas of Tampa Bay (Florida): Fort De Soto State Park and Weedon Island Preserve. An initial unsupervised classification derived from WorldView-2 was more accurate at identifying wetlands based on ground truth data collected in the field than the classification derived from Landsat 8 OLI (82% vs. 46% accuracy). The WorldView-2 data was then used to define the parameters of a simple and efficient decision tree with four nodes for a more exacting classification. The criteria for the decision tree were derived by extracting radiance spectra at 1500 separate pixels from the WorldView-2 data within fieldvalidated regions. Results for both study areas showed high accuracy in both wetland (82% at Fort De Soto State Park, and 94% at Weedon Island Preserve) and non-wetland vegetation classes (90% and 83%, respectively). Historical, published land-use maps overestimate wetland surface cover by factors of 2-10 in the study areas. The proposed methods improve speed and efficiency of wetland map production, allow semi-annual monitoring through repeat satellite passes, and improve the accuracy and precision with which wetlands are identified.

Citation / Publisher Attribution

International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation, v. 40, p. 11-18