Cloud cover constitutes a major obstacle to land cover classification in the humid tropical regions when using optical remote sensing such as Landsat imagery. The advent of freely available Sentinel-1 C band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery offers new opportunities for land cover classification in frequently cloud covered environments. In this study, we investigated the utility of Sentinel-1 for extracting land use land cover (LULC) information in the coastal low lying strip of Douala, Cameroon when compared with Landsat enhanced thematic mapper (TM). We also assessed the potential of integrating Sentinel-1 and Landsat. The major LULC classes in the region included water, settlement, bare ground, dark mangroves, green mangroves, swampy vegetation, rubber, coastal forest and other vegetation and palms. Textural variables including mean, correlation, contrast and entropy were derived from the Sentinel-1 C band. Various conventional image processing techniques and the support vector machine (SVM) algorithm were applied. Only four land cover classes (settlement, water, mangroves and other vegetation and rubber) could be calibrated and validated using SAR imagery due to speckles. The Sentinel-1 only classification yielded a lower overall classification accuracy (67.65% when compared to all Landsat bands (88.7%)). The integrated Sentinel-1 and Landsat data showed no significant differences in overall accuracy assessment (88.71% and 88.59%, respectively). The three best spectral bands (5, 6, 7) of Landsat imagery yielded the highest overall accuracy assessment (91.96%). in the study. These results demonstrate a lower potential of Sentinel-1 for land cover classification in the Douala estuary when compared with cloud free Landsat images. However, comparable results were obtained when only broad classes were considered.
Fonteh, M. L., Theophile, F., Cornelius, M. L., Main, R., Ramoelo, A., & Cho, M. A. (2016). Assessing the Utility of Sentinel-1 C Band Synthetic Aperture Radar Imagery for Land Use Land Cover Classification in a Tropical Coastal Systems When Compared with Landsat 8. Journal of Geographic Information System, 08(04), 495–505. https://doi.org/10.4236/jgis.2016.84041