Evaluating time-series smoothing algorithms for multi-temporal land cover classification

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Virginia Tech


In this study we applied the asymmetric Gaussian, double-logistic, and Savitzky-Golay filters to MODIS time-series NDVI data to compare the capability of smoothing algorithms in noise reduction for improving land cover classification in the Great Lakes Basin, and providing groundwork to support cyanobacteria and cyanotoxin monitoring efforts. We used inter-class separability and intra-class variability, at varying levels of pixel homogeneity, to evaluate the effectiveness of three smoothing algorithms. Based on these initial tests, the algorithm which returned the best results was used to analyze how image stratification by ecoregion can affect filter performance.

MODIS 16-day 250m NDVI imagery of the Great Lakes Basin from 2001-2013 were used in conjunction with National Land Cover Database (NLCD) 2006 and 2011 data, and Cropland Data Layers (CDL) from 2008 to 2013 to conduct these evaluations. Inter-class separability was measured by Jeffries-Matusita (JM) distances between selected land cover classes (both general classes and specific crops), and intra-class variability was measured by calculating simple Euclidean distance for samples within a land cover class. Within the study area, it was found that the application of a smoothing algorithm can significantly reduce image noise, improving both inter-class separability and intra-class variability when compared to the raw data. Of the three filters examined, the asymmetric Gaussian filter consistently returned the highest values of interclass separability, while all three filters performed very similarly for within-class variability. The ecoregion analysis based on the asymmetric Gaussian dataset indicated that the scale of study area can heavily impact within-class separability. The criteria we established have potential for furthering our understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of different smoothing algorithms, thereby improving pre-processing decisions for land cover classification using time-series data.



Remote sensing, smoothing algorithms, time-series, NDVI, MODIS