Automatic land cover classification with SAR imagery and Machine learning using Google Earth Engine
Keywords:Land cover classification, Google Earth Engine, Synthetic aperture radar, Random Forest and Support vector machine
Land cover is the most critical information required for land management and planning because human interference on land can be easily detected through it. However, mapping land cover utilizing optical remote sensing is not easy due to the acute shortage of cloud-free images. Google Earth Engine (GEE) is an efficient and effective tool for huge land cover analysis by providing access to large volumes of imagery available within a few days after acquisition in one consolidated system. This article demonstrates the use of Sentinel-1 datasets to create a land cover map of Pusad, Maharashtra using the GEE platform. Sentinel-1 provides Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) datasets that have a temporally dense and high spatial resolution, which is renowned for its cloud penetration characteristics and round-the-year observations irrespective of the weather. VV and VH polarization sentinel-1 time series data were automatically classified using a support vector machine (SVM) and Random Forest (RF) machine learning algorithms. Overall accuracies (OA), ranging from 82.3% to 90%, were obtained depending on polarization and methodology used. RF algorithm with VV polarization dataset stands better in comparison to SVM achieving OA of 90% and Kappa coefficient of 0.86. The highest user accuracy was obtained for the water class with both classifiers.