Flood Mapping in Vegetated Areas Using an Unsupervised Clustering Approach on Sentinel-1 and -2 Imagery
The European Space Agency's Sentinel-1 constellation provides timely and freely available dual-polarized C-band Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) imagery. The launch of these and other SAR sensors has boosted the field of SAR-based flood mapping. However, flood mapping in vegetated areas remains a topic under investigation, as backscatter is the result of a complex mixture of backscattering mechanisms and strongly depends on the wave and vegetation characteristics. In this paper, we present an
... pervised object-based clustering framework capable of mapping flooding in the presence and absence of flooded vegetation based on freely and globally available data only. Based on a SAR image pair, the region of interest is segmented into objects, which are converted to a SAR-optical feature space and clustered using K-means. These clusters are then classified based on automatically determined thresholds, and the resulting classification is refined by means of several region growing post-processing steps. The final outcome discriminates between dry land, permanent water, open flooding, and flooded vegetation. Forested areas, which might hide flooding, are indicated as well. The framework is presented based on four case studies, of which two contain flooded vegetation. For the optimal parameter combination, three-class F1 scores between 0.76 and 0.91 are obtained depending on the case, and the pixel- and object-based thresholding benchmarks are outperformed. Furthermore, this framework allows an easy integration of additional data sources when these become available.