Analysis of the Impact of Positional Accuracy When Using a Block of Pixels for Thematic Accuracy Assessment
Geographies 2021, 1(2), 143-165; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geographies1020009 (registering DOI) - 18 Sep 2021
Pixels, blocks (i.e., grouping of pixels), and polygons are the fundamental choices for use as assessment units for validating per-pixel image classification. Previous research conducted by the authors of this paper focused on the analysis of the impact of positional accuracy when using
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Pixels, blocks (i.e., grouping of pixels), and polygons are the fundamental choices for use as assessment units for validating per-pixel image classification. Previous research conducted by the authors of this paper focused on the analysis of the impact of positional accuracy when using a single pixel for thematic accuracy assessment. The research described here provided a similar analysis, but the blocks of contiguous pixels were chosen as the assessment unit for thematic validation. The goal of this analysis was to assess the impact of positional errors on the thematic assessment. Factors including the size of a block, labeling threshold, landscape characteristics, spatial scale, and classification schemes were also considered. The results demonstrated that using blocks as an assessment unit reduced the thematic errors caused by positional errors to under 10% for most global land-cover mapping projects and most remote-sensing applications achieving a half-pixel registration. The larger the block size, the more the positional error was reduced. However, there are practical limitations to the size of the block. More classes in a classification scheme and higher heterogeneity increased the positional effect. The choice of labeling threshold depends on the spatial scale and landscape characteristics to balance the number of abandoned units and positional impact. This research suggests using the block of pixels as an assessment unit in the thematic accuracy assessment in future applications.