Accuracy Assessment of the NLCD 2006 Impervious Surface for Roanoke and Blacksburg


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Impervious surface map products are important for the study of urbanization, urban heat island effects, watershed hydrology, water pollution, and ecosystem services in general. At the conterminous US scale, impervious surfaces are mapped for 2001 and 2006. The accuracy of the 2006 NLCD impervious surface, however, has not been thoroughly examined, especially for small and intermediate size cities (e.g., regional city). In this study, we selected two transects in two cities and visually interpreted aerial photo to develop impervious surface reference maps. We then compared percent impervious surface of the NLCD and aerial photo-interpreted reference maps. The comparison was conducted at 90m resolution to minimize the errors in image registration. Overall, we found that the 2006 NLCD impervious surface matched well with our reference data, although slight skewness at two extremes is present. The R² and RMSE statistics improved when the two datasets are compared at coarse aggregation levels (e.g. 180m).



National land cover data impervious surface dataset (NLCD IS), Aerial photography, Roanoke, Va., Blacksburg, Va., Land use mapping