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How good is the map? A multi-scale cross-comparison framework for global settlement layers: Evidence from Central Europe.

Klotz, Martin and Kemper, Thomas and Geiß, Christian and Esch, Thomas and Taubenböck, Hannes (2016) How good is the map? A multi-scale cross-comparison framework for global settlement layers: Evidence from Central Europe. Remote Sensing of Environment, 178 (2016), pp. 191-212. Elsevier. doi: 10.1016/j.rse.2016.03.001. ISSN 0034-4257.

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Official URL: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0034425716300955


Mapping of settlement areas from space is entering a new era. With the recently developed Global Urban Footprint (based on radar data from TanDEM-X) and the Global Human Settlement Layer (based on optical data), two new initiatives that promise to map complex settlement patterns at global scales and unprecedented spatial resolutions are about to enter the scientific and map user community. However, comparative studies on these layers' strengths and weaknesses, especially in terms of their potential added value with regard to existing lower resolution maps, as well as their assessed accuracy are still absent. In this regard, we introduce a multi-scale cross-comparison framework that uses the best existing urban maps as a benchmark. To paint a complete picture, we simultaneously address several components of map accuracy including relative inter-map agreement, absolute accuracies and pattern-based classification differences. This framework is applied to present regionally representative results from two Central European test sites. In this, we find that the new base maps bring decisive advancements in preserving the small-scale complexity of global human settlement patterns beyond urban core areas. Relative inter-map comparison exposes low density settlement regions traditionally under-represented by lower resolution maps that are now recognized. Absolute metrics such as the Kappa coefficient of agreement (K) show that accuracies of the new high resolution layers (K = 0.56–0.58) nearly double those of existing products. Beyond, they feature substantial consistency between urban (K = 0.46–0.50) and rural landscapes (K = 0.41–0.45). Results from pattern-based exploration further reveal significant correlation of accuracies with physical pattern variations such as settlement density and mark a clear shift of accuracies from large to medium and small patch sizes. This differentiated view on classification accuracies shows that the new generation of urban maps constitutes a significantly enhanced spatial representation of large-scale settlement patterns.

Item URL in elib:https://elib.dlr.de/103655/
Document Type:Article
Title:How good is the map? A multi-scale cross-comparison framework for global settlement layers: Evidence from Central Europe.
AuthorsInstitution or Email of AuthorsAuthor's ORCID iD
Klotz, MartinUNSPECIFIEDhttps://orcid.org/0000-0003-1478-5251
Date:1 June 2016
Journal or Publication Title:Remote Sensing of Environment
Refereed publication:Yes
Open Access:Yes
Gold Open Access:No
In ISI Web of Science:Yes
Page Range:pp. 191-212
Series Name:Remote Sensing of Environment
Keywords:Global settlement mapping; Remote Sensing; Cross-comparison; Land cover validation; Accuracy assessment; Global Urban Footprint; Global Human Settlement Layer; Globcover; MODIS; Urbanization
HGF - Research field:Aeronautics, Space and Transport
HGF - Program:Space
HGF - Program Themes:Earth Observation
DLR - Research area:Raumfahrt
DLR - Program:R EO - Earth Observation
DLR - Research theme (Project):R - Vorhaben Zivile Kriseninformation und Georisiken (old)
Location: Oberpfaffenhofen
Institutes and Institutions:German Remote Sensing Data Center > Geo Risks and Civil Security
German Remote Sensing Data Center > Land Surface
German Remote Sensing Data Center
Deposited By: Klotz, Martin
Deposited On:31 Mar 2016 14:41
Last Modified:31 Jul 2019 20:00

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