Feature extraction and selection in remote sensing-aided forest inventory

Reija Haapanen
2014 Dissertationes Forestales  
3 Haapanen, R. 2014. Feature extraction and selection in remote sensing-aided forest inventory. Dissertationes Forestales 181. 44 p. http://dx.doi.org/10. 14214/df.181 This dissertation explored the potential of image features derived from remotely sensed data in the context of large-area forest inventory. The study areas were located in Finnish boreal forests, with one exception in Northern Minnesota, USA. Estimation of forest variables was carried out at pixel (or an equidistant grid) level.
more » ... he non-parametric k nearest neighbour estimation method was applied throughout the study. The used remotely sensed data included Landsat 7 Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) satellite images, colour infra-red aerial photographs, TerraSAR-X radar and airborne laser scanning (ALS) data. An indicative suitability order of these image types for estimation of forest variables was ALS, TerraSAR-X, aerial photographs and Landsat 7 ETM+. Special emphasis was placed on combining features extracted from individual remotely sensed data sources and searching for sets of image features that led to the best performance for estimation of forest variables. Selection of the image features was mainly carried out using a genetic algorithm. The resulting relative root mean square errors (RMSEs) ranged from 23% to 77% in the case of estimating mean volume of growing stock. The best results were obtained employing ALS and aerial photograph-based feature combinations. These combinations led to relative RMSEs of 23-30% when estimating mean volume of growing stock, depending on the landscape complexity. Combining image types with complementary properties typically improved the estimation accuracy. Automatic selection of image feature sets greatly reduced noise and dimensionality of the large feature sets used as input data and resulted in better performance in terms of estimation error. In studies employing ALS data, the ALS observations describing the vertical structure of forest stands played a critical role in decreasing the estimation error.
doi:10.14214/df.181 fatcat:2wyf2urvhnfrnkulckz37ei6z4