• Braun, Alexander


Each remote sensing technique has its unique set of strengths and weaknesses, but by combining techniques the classification accuracy can be increased. The goal of this project is to underline the strengths and weaknesses of Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), LiDAR and optical imagery data and highlight the opportunities where integration of the three data types can increase the accuracy of identifying water in a principally natural landscape. The study area is located at the Queen's University Biological Station, Ontario, Canada. TerraSAR-X (TSX) data was acquired between April and July 2016, consisting of four single polarization (HH) staring spotlight mode backscatter intensity images. Grey-level thresholding is used to extract surface water bodies, before identifying and masking zones of radar shadow and layover by using LiDAR elevation models to estimate the canopy height and applying simple geometry algorithms. The airborne LiDAR survey was conducted in June 2014, resulting in a discrete return dataset with a density of 1 point/m2. Radiometric calibration to correct for range and incidence angle is applied, before classifying the points as water or land based on corrected intensity, elevation, roughness, and intensity density. Panchromatic and multispectral (4-band) imagery from Quickbird was collected in September 2005 at spatial resolutions of 0.6m and 2.5m respectively. Pixel-based classification is applied to identify and distinguish water bodies from land. A classification system which inputs SAR-, LiDAR- and optically-derived water presence models in raster formats is developed to exploit the strengths and weaknesses of each technique. The total percentage of water detected in the sample area for SAR backscatter, LiDAR intensity, and optical imagery was 27%, 19% and 18% respectively. The output matrix of the classification system indicates that in over 72% of the study area all three methods agree on the classification. Analysis was specifically targeted towards areas where the methods disagree, highlighting how each technique should be properly weighted over these areas to increase the classification accuracy of water. The conclusions and techniques developed in this study are applicable to other areas where similar environmental conditions and data availability exist.