Journal Paper Digests

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Journal Paper Digests 2017 #17

  • Modification of the random forest algorithm to avoid statistical dependence problems when classifying remote sensing imagery
  • Rule-based topology system for spatial databases to validate complex geographic datasets
  • A pragmatic, automated approach for retroactive calibration of soil moisture sensors using a two-step, soil-specific correction

Modification of the random forest algorithm to avoid statistical dependence problems when classifying remote sensing imagery

Authors: Canovas-Garcia, F; Alonso-Sarria, F; Gomariz-Castillo, F; Onate-Valdivieso, F

Source: COMPUTERS & GEOSCIENCES, 103 1-11; JUN 2017

Abstract: Random forest is a classification technique widely used in remote sensing. One of its advantages is that it produces an estimation of classification accuracy based on the so called out-of-bag cross-validation method. It is usually assumed that such estimation is not biased and may be used instead of validation based on an external data-set or a cross-validation external to the algorithm.In this paper we show that this is not necessarily the case when classifying remote sensing imagery using training areas with several pixels or objects. According to our results, out-of-bag cross-validation clearly overestimates accuracy, both overall and per class. The reason is that, in a training patch, pixels or objects are not independent (from a statistical point of view) of each other; however, they are split by bootstrapping into in bag and out-of-bag as if they were really independent. We believe that putting whole patch, rather than pixels/objects, in one or the other set would produce a less biased out-of-bag cross-validation. To deal with the problem, we propose a modification of the random forest algorithm to split training patches instead of the pixels (or objects) that compose them. This modified algorithm does not overestimate accuracy and has no lower predictive capability than the original. When its results are validated with an external data-set, the accuracy is not different from that obtained with the original algorithm.We analysed three remote sensing images with different classification approaches (pixel and object based); in the three cases reported, the modification we propose produces a less biased accuracy estimation.

Rule-based topology system for spatial databases to validate complex geographic datasets

Authors: Martinez-Llario, J; Coll, E; Nunez-Andres, M; Femenia-Ribera, C

Source: COMPUTERS & GEOSCIENCES, 103 122-132; JUN 2017

Abstract: A rule-based topology software system providing a highly flexible and fast procedure to enforce integrity in spatial relationships among datasets is presented. This improved topology rule system is built over the spatial extension Jaspa. Both projects are open source, freely available software developed by the corresponding author of this paper.Currently, there is no spatial DBMS that implements a rule-based topology engine (considering that the topology rules are designed and performed in the spatial backend). If the topology rules are applied in the frontend (as in many GIS desktop programs), ArcGIS is the most advanced solution. The system presented in this paper has several major advantages over the ArcGIS approach: it can be extended with new topology rules, it has a much wider set of rules, and it can mix feature attributes with topology rules as filters. In addition, the topology rule system can work with various DBMSs, including PostgreSQL, H2 or Oracle, and the logic is performed in the spatial backend.The proposed topology system allows users to check the complex spatial relationships among features (from one or several spatial layers) that require some complex cartographic datasets, such as the data specifications proposed by INSPIRE in Europe and the Land Administration Domain Model (LADM) for Cadastral data.

A pragmatic, automated approach for retroactive calibration of soil moisture sensors using a two-step, soil-specific correction

Authors: Gasch, CK; Brown, DJ; Brooks, ES; Yourek, M; Poggio, M; Cobos, DR; Campbell, CS

Source: COMPUTERS AND ELECTRONICS IN AGRICULTURE, 137 29-40; MAY 2017

Abstract: Soil moisture sensors are increasingly deployed in sensor networks for both agronomic research and precision agriculture. Soil-specific calibration improves the accuracy of soil water content sensors, but laboratory calibration of individual sensors is not practical for networks installed across heterogeneous settings. Using daily water content readings collected from a sensor network (42 locations x 5 depths = 210 sensors) installed at the Cook Agronomy Farm (CAF) near Pullman, Washington, we developed an automated calibration approach that can be applied to individual sensors after installation. As a first step, we converted sensor-based estimates of apparent dielectric permittivity to volumetric water content using three different calibration equations (Topp equation, CAF laboratory calibration, and the complex refractive index model, or CRIM). In a second, “re-calibration” step, we used two pedotransfer functions based upon particle size fractions and/or bulk density to estimate water content at wilting point, field capacity, and saturation at each sensor insertion point. Using an automated routine, we extracted the same three reference points, when present, from each sensor’s record, and then bias corrected and re-scaled the sensor data to match the estimated reference points. Based on validation with field-collected cores, the Topp equation provided the most accurate calibration with an RMSE of 0.074 m(3) m(-3), but automated re-calibration with a local pedotransfer function outperformed any of the calibrations alone, yielding a network-wide RMSE of 0.055 m(3) m(-3). The initial calibration equation used in the first step was irrelevant when the re-calibration was applied. After correcting for the reference core measurement error of 0.026 m(3) m(-3) used for calibration and validation, the error of the sensors alone (RMSEadj) was computed as 0.049 m(3) m(-3). Sixty-five percent of individual sensors exhibited re calibration errors less than or equal to the network RMSEadj. The incorporation of soil physical information at sensor installation sites, applied retroactively via an automated routine to in situ soil water content sensors, substantially improved network sensor accuracy.

Managing quantifiable uncertainties in digital land suitability assessment

This [poster]({{ site.url }}/downloads/poster/landsuit_bmal2.pdf) "Managing quantifiable uncertainties in digital land suitability assess...… Continue reading