Temporal data fusion approaches to remote sensing-based wetland classification

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Montgomery, Joshua
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Dept. of Geography
This thesis investigates the ecology of wetlands and associated classification in prairie and boreal environments of Alberta, Canada, using remote sensing technology to enhance classification of wetlands in the province. Objectives of the thesis are divided into two case studies, 1) examining how satellite borne Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), optical (RapidEye & SPOT) can be used to evaluate surface water trends in a prairie pothole environment (Shepard Slough); and 2) investigating a data fusion methodology combining SAR, optical and Lidar data to characterize wetland vegetation and surface water attributes in a boreal environment (Utikuma Regional Study Area (URSA)). Surface water extent and hydroperiod products were derived from SAR data, and validated using optical imagery with high accuracies (76-97% overall) for both case studies. High resolution Lidar Digital Elevation Models (DEM), Digital Surface Models (DSM), and Canopy Height Model (CHM) products provided the means for data fusion to extract riparian vegetation communities and surface water; producing model accuracies of (R2 0.90) for URSA, and RMSE of 0.2m to 0.7m at Shepard Slough when compared to field and optical validation data. Integration of Alberta and Canadian wetland classifications systems used to classify and determine economic value of wetlands into the methodology produced thematic maps relevant for policy and decision makers for potential wetland monitoring and policy development.
Synthetic aperture radar , Wetlands , hydroperiod , time series , frequency analysis , data fusion , Optical radar