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  • ARBOR_AccuracyOfRemotely-sensedBiophysicalObservationandRetrieval_CLEAN

    Rights statement: This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Remote Sensing of Environment. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Remote Sensing of Environment, 231, 2019 DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2019.111256

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    Embargo ends: 24/06/20

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ARBOR: A New Framework for Assessing the Accuracy of Individual Tree Crown Delineation from Remotely-sensed Data

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

Published
Article number111256
<mark>Journal publication date</mark>15/09/2019
<mark>Journal</mark>Remote Sensing of Environment
Volume231
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished
Early online date24/06/19
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

To assess the accuracy of individual tree crown (ITC) delineation techniques the same tree needs to be identified in two different datasets, for example, ground reference (GR) data and crowns delineated from LiDAR. Many studies use arbitrary metrics or simple linear-distance thresholds to match trees in different datasets without quantifying the level of agreement. For example, successful match-pairing is often claimed where two data points, representing the same tree in different datasets, are located within 5m of one another. Such simple measures are inadequate for representing the multi-variate nature of ITC delineations and generate misleading measures of delineation accuracy. In this study, we develop a new framework for objectively quantifying the agreement between GR and remotely-sensed tree datasets: the Accuracy of Remotely-sensed Biophysical Observation and Retrieval (ARBOR) framework. Using common biophysical properties of ITC delineated trees (location, height and crown area), trees represented in different data sets were modelled as overlapping Gaussian curves to facilitate a more comprehensive assessment of the level of agreement. Extensive testing quantified the limitations of some frequently used match-pairing methods, in particular, the Hausdorff distance algorithm. We demonstrate that within the ARBOR framework, the Hungarian combinatorial optimisation algorithm improves the match between datasets, while the Jaccard similarity coefficient is effective for measuring the correspondence between the matched data populations. The ARBOR framework was applied to GR and remotely-sensed tree data from a woodland study site to demonstrate how ARBOR can identify the optimum ITC delineation technique, out of four different methods tested, based on two measures of statistical accuracy. Using ARBOR will limit further reliance on arbitrary thresholds as it provides an objective approach for quantifying accuracy in the development and application of ITC delineation algorithms.

Bibliographic note

This is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Remote Sensing of Environment. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. A definitive version was subsequently published in Remote Sensing of Environment, 231, 2019 DOI: 10.1016/j.rse.2019.111256