ISSN / EISSN : 2072-4292 / 2072-4292
Current Publisher: MDPI (10.3390)
Total articles ≅ 13,232
Latest articles in this journal
Remote Sensing, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/rs12213511
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) imaging systems have recently gained significant attention from researchers and practitioners as a cost-effective means for agro-environmental applications. In particular, machine learning algorithms have been applied to UAV-based remote sensing data for enhancing the UAV capabilities of various applications. This systematic review was performed on studies through a statistical meta-analysis of UAV applications along with machine learning algorithms in agro-environmental monitoring. For this purpose, a total number of 163 peer-reviewed articles published in 13 high-impact remote sensing journals over the past 20 years were reviewed focusing on several features, including study area, application, sensor type, platform type, and spatial resolution. The meta-analysis revealed that 62% and 38% of the studies applied regression and classification models, respectively. Visible sensor technology was the most frequently used sensor with the highest overall accuracy among classification articles. Regarding regression models, linear regression and random forest were the most frequently applied models in UAV remote sensing imagery processing. Finally, the results of this study confirm that applying machine learning approaches on UAV imagery produces fast and reliable results. Agriculture, forestry, and grassland mapping were found as the top three UAV applications in this review, in 42%, 22%, and 8% of the studies, respectively.
Remote Sensing, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/rs12213512
We discriminated different successional forest stages, forest degradation, and land use classes in the Tapajós National Forest (TNF), located in the Central Brazilian Amazon. We used full polarimetric images from ALOS/PALSAR-2 that have not yet been tested for land use and land cover (LULC) classification, neither for forest degradation classification in the TNF. Our specific objectives were: (1) to test the potential of ALOS/PALSAR-2 full polarimetric images to discriminate LULC classes and forest degradation; (2) to determine the optimum subset of attributes to be used in LULC classification and forest degradation studies; and (3) to evaluate the performance of Random Forest (RF) and Support Vector Machine (SVM) supervised classifications to discriminate LULC classes and forest degradation. PALSAR-2 images from 2015 and 2016 were processed to generate Radar Vegetation Index, Canopy Structure Index, Volume Scattering Index, Biomass Index, and Cloude–Pottier, van Zyl, Freeman–Durden, and Yamaguchi polarimetric decompositions. To determine the optimum subset, we used principal component analysis in order to select the best attributes to discriminate the LULC classes and forest degradation, which were classified by RF. Based on the variable importance score, we selected the four first attributes for 2015, alpha, anisotropy, volumetric scattering, and double-bounce, and for 2016, entropy, anisotropy, surface scattering, and biomass index, subsequently classified by SVM. Individual backscattering indexes and polarimetric decompositions were also considered in both RF and SVM classifiers. Yamaguchi decomposition performed by RF presented the best results, with an overall accuracy (OA) of 76.9% and 83.3%, and Kappa index of 0.70 and 0.80 for 2015 and 2016, respectively. The optimum subset classified by RF showed an OA of 75.4% and 79.9%, and Kappa index of 0.68 and 0.76 for 2015 and 2016, respectively. RF exhibited superior performance in relation to SVM in both years. Polarimetric attributes exhibited an adequate capability to discriminate forest degradation and classes of different ecological succession from the ones with less vegetation cover.
Remote Sensing, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/rs12213514
The estimation of ambiguity in the global navigation satellite system/inertial navigation system (GNSS/INS) tightly coupled system is a key issue for GNSS/INS precise navigation positioning. Only when the ambiguity is solved correctly can the integrated navigation system obtain high-precision positioning results. Aiming at the problem of ambiguity parameter estimation in GNSS/INS tightly coupled system, a new strategy for ambiguity parameter estimation and elimination is proposed in this paper. Here, the ambiguity parameter is first added to the state equations of GNSS/INS in the estimation process. Then, the strategy of eliminating the parameter is used to improve efficiency. A residual test is carried out based on introducing the ambiguity parameter, thereby reducing or avoiding its influence on the filtering estimation process. Two groups of experiments were carried out and compared with GNSS positioning results. The results showed that, in the open sky observation environment, the positioning accuracy of the GNSS/INS tightly coupled method proposed in this paper was within 5 cm, and the ambiguity fixed rate was more than 97%, which is basically consistent. In a GNSS-denied environment, the positioning accuracy of the GNSS/INS tightly coupled method proposed in this paper was obviously better than that of GNSS, and the positioning accuracy in X, Y, and Z directions was improved by 82.46%, 78.87%, and 79.67%, respectively. The fixed rate of ambiguity increased from 73% to 78.57%. Therefore, in a GNSS-challenged environment, the novel strategy of the GNSS/INS tightly coupled system has higher ambiguity fixed rate and significantly improves positioning accuracy and continuity.
Remote Sensing, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/rs12213513
Reliable forecasts on the impacts of global change on the land surface are vital to inform the actions of policy and decision makers to mitigate consequences and secure livelihoods. Geospatial Earth Observation (EO) data from remote sensing satellites has been collected continuously for 40 years and has the potential to facilitate the spatio-temporal forecasting of land surface dynamics. In this review we compiled 143 papers on EO-based forecasting of all aspects of the land surface published in 16 high-ranking remote sensing journals within the past decade. We analyzed the literature regarding research focus, the spatial scope of the study, the forecasting method applied, as well as the temporal and technical properties of the input data. We categorized the identified forecasting methods according to their temporal forecasting mechanism and the type of input data. Time-lagged regressions which are predominantly used for crop yield forecasting and approaches based on Markov Chains for future land use and land cover simulation are the most established methods. The use of external climate projections allows the forecasting of numerical land surface parameters up to one hundred years into the future, while auto-regressive time series modeling can account for intra-annual variances. Machine learning methods have been increasingly used in all categories and multivariate modeling that integrates multiple data sources appears to be more popular than univariate auto-regressive modeling despite the availability of continuously expanding time series data. Regardless of the method, reliable EO-based forecasting requires high-level remote sensing data products and the resulting computational demand appears to be the main reason that most forecasts are conducted only on a local scale. In the upcoming years, however, we expect this to change with further advances in the field of machine learning, the publication of new global datasets, and the further establishment of cloud computing for data processing.
Remote Sensing, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/rs12213509
The climatological surface solar radiation (SSR; also called global radiation), which is largely dependent on cloud conditions, is an important indicator of the solar energy production potential. In the Baltic area, previous studies have indicated lower cloud amounts over seas than over land, in particular during the summer. However, the existing literature on the SSR climate or how it translates into solar energy potential has not paid much attention to how the SSR behaves quantitatively in relation to the coastline. In this paper, we have studied the climatological land–sea contrast of the SSR over the Baltic area. For this, we used two satellite climate data records, CLARA-A2 and SARAH-2, together with a coastline data base and ground-based pyranometer measurements of the SSR. We analyzed the behaviour of the climatological mean SSR over the period 2003–2013 as a function of the distance to the coastline. The results show that off-shore locations on average receive higher SSR than inland areas and that the land–sea contrast in the SSR is strongest during the summer. Furthermore, the land–sea contrast in the summer time SSR exhibits similar behavior in various parts of the Baltic. For CLARA-A2, which shows better agreement with the ground-based measurements than SARAH-2, the annual SSR is 8% higher 20 km off the coastline than 20 km inland. For summer, i.e., June–August, this difference is 10%. The observed land–sea contrast in the SSR is further shown to correspond closely to the behavior of clouds. Here, convective clouds play an important role as they tend to form over inland areas rather than over the seas during the summer part of the year.
Remote Sensing, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/rs12213515
Assessment of the nitrogen status of grapevines with high spatial, temporal resolution offers benefits in fertilizer use efficiency, crop yield and quality, and vineyard uniformity. The primary objective of this study was to develop a robust predictive model for grapevine nitrogen estimation at bloom stage using high-resolution multispectral images captured by an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV). Aerial imagery and leaf tissue sampling were conducted from 150 grapevines subjected to five rates of nitrogen applications. Subsequent to appropriate pre-processing steps, pixels representing the canopy were segmented from the background per each vine. First, we defined a binary classification problem using pixels of three vines with the minimum (low-N class) and two vines with the maximum (high-N class) nitrogen concentration. Following optimized hyperparameters configuration, we trained five machine learning classifiers, including support vector machine (SVM), random forest, XGBoost, quadratic discriminant analysis (QDA), and deep neural network (DNN) with fully-connected layers. Among the classifiers, SVM offered the highest F1-score (82.24%) on the test dataset at the cost of a very long training time compared to the other classifiers. Alternatively, QDA and XGBoost required the minimum training time with promising F1-score of 80.85% and 80.27%, respectively. Second, we transformed the classification into a regression problem by averaging the posterior probability of high-N class for all pixels within each of 150 vines. XGBoost exhibited a slightly larger coefficient of determination (R2 = 0.56) and lower root mean square error (RMSE) (0.23%) compared to other learning methods in the prediction of nitrogen concentration of all vines. The proposed approach provides values in (i) leveraging high-resolution imagery, (ii) investigating spatial distribution of nitrogen across a vine’s canopy, and (iii) defining spatial zones for nitrogen application and smart sampling.
Remote Sensing, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/rs12213510
Choi et al. (2019) suggested that ionospheric total electron content (TEC) and receiver differential code bias (rDCB) stability have a strong correlation during a period of two years from 2014 to 2016. This article is a response to Zhong et al. (2020), who pointed out that the long-term variations of the GPS DCBs are mainly attributed to the satellite replacement rather than the ionospheric variability. In this issue, we investigated the center for orbit determination in Europe (CODE) Global Ionosphere Maps (GIM) products from 2000 to 2020. In this study, changes in TEC and receiver DCB (rDCB) root mean squares (RMS) at Bogota (BOGT) station still have a clear correlation. In addition, there was a moderate correlation between satellite DCB RMS and rDCB RMS. As a result, we suggest that rDCB can be affected simultaneously by GPS sDCB as well as ionospheric activity.
Remote Sensing, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/rs12213506
Stand-level maps of past forest disturbances (expressed as time since disturbance, TSD) are needed to model forest ecosystem processes, but the conventional approaches based on remotely sensed satellite data can only extend as far back as the first available satellite observations. Stand-level analysis of airborne LiDAR data has been demonstrated to accurately estimate long-term TSD (~100 years), but large-scale coverage of airborne LiDAR remains costly. NASA’s spaceborne LiDAR Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) instrument, launched in December 2018, is providing billions of measurements of tropical and temperate forest canopies around the globe. GEDI is a spatial sampling instrument and, as such, does not provide wall-to-wall data. GEDI’s lasers illuminate ground footprints, which are separated by ~600 m across-track and ~60 m along-track, so new approaches are needed to generate wall-to-wall maps from the discrete measurements. In this paper, we studied the feasibility of a data fusion approach between GEDI and Landsat for wall-to-wall mapping of TSD. We tested the methodology on a ~52,500-ha area located in central Idaho (USA), where an extensive record of stand-replacing disturbances is available, starting in 1870. GEDI data were simulated over the nominal two-year planned mission lifetime from airborne LiDAR data and used for TSD estimation using a random forest (RF) classifier. Image segmentation was performed on Landsat-8 data, obtaining image-objects representing forest stands needed for the spatial extrapolation of estimated TSD from the discrete GEDI locations. We quantified the influence of (1) the forest stand map delineation, (2) the sample size of the training dataset, and (3) the number of GEDI footprints per stand on the accuracy of estimated TSD. The results show that GEDI-Landsat data fusion would allow for TSD estimation in stands covering ~95% of the study area, having the potential to reconstruct the long-term disturbance history of temperate even-aged forests with accuracy (median root mean square deviation = 22.14 years, median BIAS = 1.70 years, 60.13% of stands classified within 10 years of the reference disturbance date) comparable to the results obtained in the same study area with airborne LiDAR.
Remote Sensing, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/rs12213504
Cotton root rot is a destructive cotton disease and significantly affects cotton quality and yield, and accurate identification of its distribution within fields is critical for cotton growers to control the disease effectively. In this study, Sentinel-2 images were used to explore the feasibility of creating classification maps and prescription maps for site-specific fungicide application. Eight cotton fields with different levels of root rot were selected and random forest (RF) was used to identify the optimal spectral indices and texture features of the Sentinel-2 images. Five optimal spectral indices (plant senescence reflectance index (PSRI), normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI), normalized difference water index (NDWI1), moisture stressed index (MSI), and renormalized difference vegetation index (RDVI)) and seven optimal texture features (Contrast 1, Dissimilarity 1, Entory 2, Mean 1, Variance 1, Homogeneity 1, and Second moment 2) were identified. Three binary logistic regression (BLR) models, including a spectral model, a texture model, and a spectral-texture model, were constructed for cotton root rot classification and prescription map creation. The results were compared with classification maps and prescription maps based on airborne imagery. Accuracy assessment showed that the accuracies of the classification maps for the spectral, texture, and spectral-texture models were 92.95%, 84.81%, and 91.98%, respectively, and the accuracies of the prescription maps for the three respective models were 90.83%, 87.14%, and 91.40%. These results confirmed that it was feasible to identify cotton root rot and create prescription maps using different features of Sentinel-2 imagery. The addition of texture features had little effect on the overall accuracy, but it could improve the ability to identify root rot areas. The producer’s accuracy (PA) for infested cotton in the classification maps for the texture model and the spectral-texture model was 2.82% and 1.07% higher, respectively, than that of the spectral model, and the PA for treatment zones in the prescription maps for the two respective models was 9.6% and 8.22% higher than that of the spectral model. Results based on the eight cotton fields showed that the spectral model was appropriate for the cotton fields with relatively severe infestation and the spectral-texture model was more appropriate for the cotton fields with low or moderate infestation.
Remote Sensing, Volume 12; doi:10.3390/rs12213502
Forests play an important role in the Earth’s system. Understanding the states and changes in global forests is vital for ecological assessments and forest policy guidance. However, there is no consensus on how global forests have changed based on current datasets. In this study, five global land cover datasets and Global Forest Resources Assessments (FRA) were assessed to reveal uncertainties in the global forest changes in the early 21st century. These datasets displayed substantial divergences in total area, spatial distribution, latitudinal profile, and annual area change from 2001 to 2012. These datasets also display completely divergent conclusions on forest area changes for different countries. Among the datasets, total forest area changes range from an increase of 1.7 × 106 km2 to a decrease of 1.6 × 106 km2. All the datasets show deforestation in the tropics. The accuracies of the datasets in detecting forest cover changes were evaluated by a global land cover validation dataset. The spatial patterns of accuracies are inconsistent among the datasets. This study calls for the development of a more accurate database to support forest policies and to contribute to global actions against climate change.