Accuracy Assessment of the National Land Cover Database Impervious Surface dataset for Roanoke, Virginia


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The Multi-Resolution Land Characteristics Consortium (MRLC) developed National Land Cover Database Impervious Surface (NLCD IS) data to identify percent developed imperviousness for the coterminous USA. We present the results of an accuracy assessment on this data for the City of Roanoke, Virginia. First, we performed a classic accuracy assessment using a set of random points generated by GIS, and high resolution aerial photographs (1/2 foot resolution), varying the NLCD IS’ percent imperviousness from 10% to 75% per cell, resulting in an overall accuracy of around 70% for most thresholds. Then a polygon impervious surface dataset was delineated in GIS using the same high resolution aerial photos, and subsequently subdivided into 30 meter by 30 meter pixels matching each cell boundary of the NLCD IS data. A second accuracy assessment was performed on a cell by cell basis, comparing the NLCD IS to this newly created impervious surface dataset. Finally, terrain relief, specifically percent slope created from a 30 meter digital elevation model, was added to the analysis to determine if it impacted the accuracy of the NLCD IS data in the cell by cell assessment.



National land cover data impervious surface dataset (NLCD IS), Aerial photography, Accuracy assessment, Roanoke, Va.