Classifying patterns of land cover
Comparison between two maps of land use/land cover (LULC) is a fundamental task in remote sensing and geospatial data analysis with application to change detection, validation of models, and accuracy assessment. In the paper presented at the 2010 IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium Stepinski proposes to classify a collection of land use/land cover maps sharing common set of categories on the basis of their patterns using information-theoretic definition of similarity, based on the concept of mutual information. A pattern is a specific composition of LULC categories and their spatial arrangement in a given landscape; it represents a higher level abstraction of landscape than a single LULC category. For example, a LULC map of a city serves as means for visual assessment of spatial relations between its constituent categories, but it also defines a pattern - characteristic fingerprint of this particular city in terms of LULC. A collection of different cities can be grouped into classes on the basis of similarities between their patterns.