The Earth’s surface is a mosaic of various land cover and land use types. Remote sensing based satellite imagery provide synoptic views in space and time and are an ideal source for mapping this diversity. Mapping with remote sensing requires a basic understanding of the difference between land cover and land use as well as the definition of an appropriate classification scheme that is ideally standardized.
The terms land cover and land use are often used interchangeably, however, they are distinct from each other. Land cover describes the biophysical composition of the Earth’s surface. Land use describes the anthropogenic use of the Earth’s surface. The differentiation of both terms is crucial in remote sensing as satellites provide imagery of land cover, whereas information on land use is mostly based on additional human interpretation.
Visual image interpretation implies the human’s ability to analyze the content of images, e.g., land cover and land use from remote sensing imagery. Visual image interpretation encompasses two steps, first the perception of objects according to their external attributes and, second, the actual interpretation of their meaning.
|Attribute||Description (example)||Interpretation (example)|
|Contrast, color, brightness||Transition from light to dark blue||Variations in water depth|
|Geometry (shape, size)||Sinuous ribbon-like object||River|
|Texture (structure of a surface)||Rough surface with vertical line patterns||Maize cultivation|
|Spatial context (functional interrelationship)||Rail tracks that intersect a building||Railway station|
|3D structure||Visible facade and long shadow||Tower|
The Land Use/Cover Area frame Survey (LUCAS) provides harmonized and comparable information on land use and land cover across the EU. The collection of LUCA data is based on a point survey and follows the standardized LUCAS classification scheme to ensure comparability between EU member states. The information provided by the LUCAS survey is used in various contexts, e.g., Common Agriculture Policy, EU-Biodiversity Strategy, Copernicus Earth Observation Program.
The LUCAS survey encompasses around 1,1 mio points with 2 km spacing covering the whole territory of the EU. In a fist phase, pre-defined land cover classes are assigned to each point based on photo-interpretation. In a second phase, a stratified subset of points is extracted for the field survey where samples are classified according to the full land use and land cover class definitions of LUCAS (e.g. in 2015: 273500 points, 750 field surveyors). The LUCAS survey takes place every three years (last 2018).
The LUCAS survey points provide a unique reference source for remote sensing. For example, Pflugmacher et. al (2018) used LUCAS as a training and validation source for wall-to-wall mapping of pan-European land cover based on Landsat satellite imagery.
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The objective of this assignment is to map land cover and land use based on visual interpretation of a very high resolution image covering a part of the Wuhlheide Park, Berlin.
|2||Sealed non built-up|
|7||Bare land (soil/sand)|
Upload your classification scheme, map and bullet list as a PDF file to moodle.
General submission notes: Submission deadline for the weekly assignment is always the following Monday at 10am. Please use the naming convention indicating session number and family name of all students in the respective team, e.g. ‘s01_surname1_surname2_surname3_surname4.pdf’. Each team member has to upload the assignment individually. Provide single file submissions, in case you have to submit multiple files, create a *.zip archive.
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