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Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 9806479, 8 pages
Research Article

A Machine Learning and Cross-Validation Approach for the Discrimination of Vegetation Physiognomic Types Using Satellite Based Multispectral and Multitemporal Data

1Department of Informatics, Tokyo University of Information Sciences, 4-1 Onaridai, Wakaba-ku, Chiba 265-8501, Japan
2Graduate School of Informatics, Tokyo University of Information Sciences, 4-1 Onaridai, Wakaba-ku, Chiba 265-8501, Japan

Correspondence should be addressed to Ram C. Sharma

Received 4 January 2017; Revised 9 April 2017; Accepted 18 April 2017; Published 11 June 2017

Academic Editor: Dick de Ridder

Copyright © 2017 Ram C. Sharma et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


This paper presents the performance and evaluation of a number of machine learning classifiers for the discrimination between the vegetation physiognomic classes using the satellite based time-series of the surface reflectance data. Discrimination of six vegetation physiognomic classes, Evergreen Coniferous Forest, Evergreen Broadleaf Forest, Deciduous Coniferous Forest, Deciduous Broadleaf Forest, Shrubs, and Herbs, was dealt with in the research. Rich-feature data were prepared from time-series of the satellite data for the discrimination and cross-validation of the vegetation physiognomic types using machine learning approach. A set of machine learning experiments comprised of a number of supervised classifiers with different model parameters was conducted to assess how the discrimination of vegetation physiognomic classes varies with classifiers, input features, and ground truth data size. The performance of each experiment was evaluated by using the 10-fold cross-validation method. Experiment using the Random Forests classifier provided highest overall accuracy (0.81) and kappa coefficient (0.78). However, accuracy metrics did not vary much with experiments. Accuracy metrics were found to be very sensitive to input features and size of ground truth data. The results obtained in the research are expected to be useful for improving the vegetation physiognomic mapping in Japan.