Geomatics, Volume 1, Issue 1 (March 2021) – 9 articles

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Open AccessArticle
Mapping Urban and Peri-Urban Land Cover in Zimbabwe: Challenges and Opportunities
Geomatics 2021, 1(1), 114-147; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geomatics1010009 - 03 Mar 2021
Abstract
Accurate and current land cover information is required to develop strategies for sustainable development and to improve the quality of life in urban areas. This study presents an approach that combines multi-seasonal Sentinel-1 (S1) and Sentinel-2 (S2) data, and a random forest (RF) [...] Read more.
Accurate and current land cover information is required to develop strategies for sustainable development and to improve the quality of life in urban areas. This study presents an approach that combines multi-seasonal Sentinel-1 (S1) and Sentinel-2 (S2) data, and a random forest (RF) classifier in order to map land cover in four major urban centers in Zimbabwe. The specific objective of this study was to assess the potential of multi-seasonal (rainy, post-rainy, and dry season) S1, rainy season S2, post-rainy season, dry season S2, multi-seasonal S2, and multi-seasonal composite S1 and S2 data for mapping land cover in urban areas. The study results show that the combination of multi-seasonal S1 and S2 data improve land cover mapping in urban and peri-urban areas relative to only multi-seasonal S1, mono-seasonal S2, and multi-seasonal S2 data. The overall accuracy scores for the multi-seasonal S1 and S2 land cover maps are above 85% for all urban centers. Our results indicate that rainy and post-rainy S2 spectral bands, as well as dry-season S1 VV and VH bands (ascending orbit) are the most important features for land cover mapping. In particular, S1 data proved useful in separating built-up areas from cropland, which is usually problematic when only optical imagery is used in the study area. While there are notable improvements in land cover mapping, some challenges related to the S1 data analysis still remain. Nonetheless, our land cover mapping approach shows a potential to map land cover in other urban areas in Zimbabwe or in Sub-Sahara Africa. This is important given the urgent need for reliable geospatial information, which is required to implement the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) and United Nations New Urban Agenda (NUA) programmes. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Geospatial Analysis of Rain Fields and Associated Environmental Conditions for Cyclones Eline and Hudah
Geomatics 2021, 1(1), 92-113; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geomatics1010008 - 24 Feb 2021
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Abstract
Tropical cyclones (TCs) that landfall over Madagascar and Mozambique can cause flooding that endangers lives. To better understand how environmental conditions affect the rain fields of these TCs, this study utilized spatial metrics to analyze two storms taking similar paths two months apart. [...] Read more.
Tropical cyclones (TCs) that landfall over Madagascar and Mozambique can cause flooding that endangers lives. To better understand how environmental conditions affect the rain fields of these TCs, this study utilized spatial metrics to analyze two storms taking similar paths two months apart. Using a geographic information system, rain rates of 1 mm/h were extracted from a satellite-based dataset and contoured to define the rain field edge. Average extent of rainfall was measured for each quadrant and asymmetry was calculated along with rain field area, dispersion, closure, and solidity. Environmental conditions and storm intensity were analyzed every six hours. Results indicate that although both TCs intensified prior to first interaction with land, stronger vertical wind shear experienced by Eline was associated with higher asymmetry and dispersion. Additionally, rain fields were less solid although the center was mostly enclosed by rain. Storm shape was altered as both storms tracked over Madagascar, with Hudah recovering more quickly. Moisture increased for both storms and shear decreased for Eline, allowing it to become more centered and solid, and grow larger. Relationships between intensity, land interaction, and rain field shape support the results of previous research and demonstrate the global utility of these metrics. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Application of Multimodel Superensemble Technique on the TIGGE Suite of Operational Models
Geomatics 2021, 1(1), 81-91; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geomatics1010007 - 19 Feb 2021
Viewed by 164
Abstract
One widely recognized portal which provides numerical weather prediction forecasts is “The Observing System Research and Predictability Experiment” (THORPEX) Interactive Grand Global Ensemble (TIGGE), an initiative of WMO project. This data portal provides forecasts from 1 to 16 days (2 weeks in advance) [...] Read more.
One widely recognized portal which provides numerical weather prediction forecasts is “The Observing System Research and Predictability Experiment” (THORPEX) Interactive Grand Global Ensemble (TIGGE), an initiative of WMO project. This data portal provides forecasts from 1 to 16 days (2 weeks in advance) for many variables such as rainfall, winds, geopotential height, temperature, and relative humidity. These weather forecasting centers have delivered near-real-time (with a delay of 48 hours) ensemble prediction system data to three TIGGE data archives since October 2006. This study is based on six years (2008–2013) of daily rainfall data by utilizing output from six centers, namely the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts, the National Centre for Environmental Prediction, the Center for Weather Forecast and Climatic Studies, the China Meteorological Agency, the Canadian Meteorological Centre, and the United Kingdom Meteorological Office, and make consensus forecasts of up to 10 days lead time by utilizing the multimodal multilinear regression technique. The prediction is made over the Indian subcontinent, including the Indian Ocean. TRMM3B42 daily rainfall is used as the benchmark to construct the multimodel superensemble (SE) rainfall forecasts. Based on statistical ability ratings, the SE offers a better near-real-time forecast than any single model. On the one hand, the model from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasting and the UK Met Office does this more reliably over the Indian domain. In a case of Indian monsoon onset, 05 June 2014, SE carries the lowest RMSE of 8.5 mm and highest correlation of 0.49 among six member models. Overall, the performance of SE remains better than any individual member model from day 1 to day 10. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Analyzing GNSS Measurements to Detect and Predict Bridge Movements Using the Kalman Filter (KF) and Neural Network (NN) Techniques
Geomatics 2021, 1(1), 65-80; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geomatics1010006 - 07 Feb 2021
Viewed by 350
Abstract
In this study, we present a data processing framework to apply measurements of the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) technique for analyzing and predicting the movements of civil structures such as bridges. The proposed approach reduces the noise level of GNSS measurements using [...] Read more.
In this study, we present a data processing framework to apply measurements of the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) technique for analyzing and predicting the movements of civil structures such as bridges. The proposed approach reduces the noise level of GNSS measurements using the Kalman Filter (KF) approach and enables the estimation of static, semi-static, and dynamic components of the bridge’s movements using a series of analyses such as the temporal filtering and the Least Squares Harmonic Estimation (LS-HE). The numerical results indicate that by using a RTK-GNSS system the semi-static component is extracted with a Standard Deviation (STD) of 0.032, 0.048, and 0.06 m in the North, East, and Up (NEU) directions, while that of the dynamic component is 0.004, 0.003, and 0.01 m, respectively. Comparing the dominant frequencies of the bridge movements from LS-HE with those of the permanent stations provides information about the bridge’s stability. To predict its deflection, the Neural Network (NN) technique is tested to simulate the time-varying components, which are then compared with the safety limits, known by its design, to assess the structural health under usual load. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Forest Fire Spreading Using Free and Open-Source GIS Technologies
Geomatics 2021, 1(1), 50-64; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geomatics1010005 - 25 Jan 2021
Viewed by 381
Abstract
Forest fires are one of the most dangerous events, causing serious land and environmental degradation. Indeed, besides the loss of a huge quantity of plant species, the effects of fires can go far beyond: desertification, increased risk of landslides, soil erosion, death of [...] Read more.
Forest fires are one of the most dangerous events, causing serious land and environmental degradation. Indeed, besides the loss of a huge quantity of plant species, the effects of fires can go far beyond: desertification, increased risk of landslides, soil erosion, death of animals, etc. For these reasons, mathematical models able to predict fire spreading are needed in order to organize and optimize the extinguishing interventions during fire emergencies. This work presents a new system to simulate and predict the movement of the fire front based on free and open source Geographic Information System (GIS) technologies and the Rothermel surface fire spread model, with the adjustments made by Albini. We describe the mathematical models used, provide an overview of the GIS design and implementation, and present the results of some simulations at Etna volcano (Sicily, Italy), characterized by high geomorphological heterogeneity, and where the native flora and fauna may be preserved and perpetuated. The results consist of raster maps representing the progress times of the fire front starting from an ignition point and as a function of the topography and wind directions. The reliability of results is strictly affected by the correct positioning of the fire ignition point, by the accuracy of the topography that describes the morphology of the territory, and by the setting of the meteorological conditions at the moment of the ignition and propagation of the fire. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue GIS Open Source Software Applied to Geosciences)
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Open AccessArticle
Train Fast While Reducing False Positives: Improving Animal Classification Performance Using Convolutional Neural Networks
Geomatics 2021, 1(1), 34-49; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geomatics1010004 - 15 Jan 2021
Viewed by 244
Abstract
The combination of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) with deep learning models has the capacity to replace manned aircrafts for wildlife surveys. However, the scarcity of animals in the wild often leads to highly unbalanced, large datasets for which even a good detection method [...] Read more.
The combination of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) with deep learning models has the capacity to replace manned aircrafts for wildlife surveys. However, the scarcity of animals in the wild often leads to highly unbalanced, large datasets for which even a good detection method can return a large amount of false detections. Our objectives in this paper were to design a training method that would reduce training time, decrease the number of false positives and alleviate the fine-tuning effort of an image classifier in a context of animal surveys. We acquired two highly unbalanced datasets of deer images with a UAV and trained a Resnet-18 classifier using hard-negative mining and a series of recent techniques. Our method achieved sub-decimal false positive rates on two test sets (1 false positive per 19,162 and 213,312 negatives respectively), while training on small but relevant fractions of the data. The resulting training times were therefore significantly shorter than they would have been using the whole datasets. This high level of efficiency was achieved with little tuning effort and using simple techniques. We believe this parsimonious approach to dealing with highly unbalanced, large datasets could be particularly useful to projects with either limited resources or extremely large datasets. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessing the Potential of Artificial Intelligence (Artificial Neural Networks) in Predicting the Spatiotemporal Pattern of Wildfire-Generated PM2.5 Concentration
Geomatics 2021, 1(1), 18-33; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geomatics1010003 - 11 Jan 2021
Viewed by 281
Abstract
To evaluate the health effects of wildfire smoke, it is crucial to identify reliable models, at fine spatiotemporal resolution, of exposure to wildfire-generated PM2.5. To this end, satellite-drived aerosol optical depth (AOD) measurements are widely used in exposure models, providing long [...] Read more.
To evaluate the health effects of wildfire smoke, it is crucial to identify reliable models, at fine spatiotemporal resolution, of exposure to wildfire-generated PM2.5. To this end, satellite-drived aerosol optical depth (AOD) measurements are widely used in exposure models, providing long and short-term PM2.5 predictions. Multiple regression models, specifically land use regression (LUR), incorporating AOD images have shown good potential for estimating long-term PM2.5 exposure, but less so for short-term predictions. In this study, we developed artificial neural networks (ANNs) and, in particular, multilayer perceptron (MLP) by integrating ground-based PM2.5 measurements with AOD images and meteorological and spatial variables. Moreover, we used spatial- and temporal-ANNs to investigate and compare the ANNs’ ability to predict different PM2.5 concentration levels caused by abrupt spatial and temporal changes in fire smoke. The study herein analyzes and compares the viability of previously established neural network approaches in predicting short-term PM2.5 exposure during the 2014–2017 wildfire seasons in the province of Alberta, Canada. The performance of ANNs is also compared to classical models, including simple correlation (PM2.5 vs. AOD) and multiple linear regression (MLR) including meteorological and land-use predictors (MET_AOD_LUR). Our study shows that ANN achieved a 15% to 113% R2 increase compared to competing models. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Monitoring and Mapping of Shallow Landslides in a Tropical Environment Using Persistent Scatterer Interferometry: A Case Study from the Western Ghats, India
Geomatics 2021, 1(1), 3-17; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geomatics1010002 - 29 Dec 2020
Viewed by 431
Abstract
Persistent Scatterer Interferometry (PSI) techniques are now well established and accepted for monitoring ground displacements. The presence of shallow-seated landslides, ubiquitous phenomena in the tropics, offers an opportunity to monitor and map these hazards using PSI at the regional scale. Thus, the Western [...] Read more.
Persistent Scatterer Interferometry (PSI) techniques are now well established and accepted for monitoring ground displacements. The presence of shallow-seated landslides, ubiquitous phenomena in the tropics, offers an opportunity to monitor and map these hazards using PSI at the regional scale. Thus, the Western Ghats of India, experiencing a tropical climate and in a topographically complex region of the world, provides an ideal study site to test the efficacy of landslide detection with PSI. The biggest challenge in using the PSI technique in tropical regions is the additional noise in data due to vegetation. In this study, we filtered these noises by utilizing the 95-percentile of the highest coherence data, which also reduced the redundancy of the PSI points. The study examined 12 landslides that occurred within one of the three temporal categories grouped as Group 1, Group 2, and Group 3, categorized in relation to PSI monitoring periods, which was also further classified into east- and west-facing landslides. The Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) data is in descending mode, and, therefore, the east-facing landslides are characterized by positive deformation velocity values, whereas the west-facing landslides have negative deformation values. Further, the landslide-prone areas, delineated using the conventional factor of safety (FS), were refined and mapped using PSI velocity values. The combination of PSI with the conventional FS approach helped to identify exclusive zones prone to landslides. The main aim of such an attempt is to identify critical areas in the unstable category in the map prepared using FS and prioritizing the mitigation measures, and to develop a road map for any developmental activities. The approach also helps to increase confidence in the susceptibility mapping and reduce false alarms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ground-Based, UAV, Airborne and Satellite SAR for Geosciences)
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Open AccessEditorial
Geomatics—An Open Access Journal
Geomatics 2021, 1(1), 1-2; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/geomatics1010001 - 29 Dec 2020
Viewed by 415
Abstract
Geomatics is an information technology discipline which integrates the tasks of gathering, storing, processing, modeling, analyzing, and delivering spatially referenced or location information [...] Full article
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