Moody, A, Woodcock, CE (1995). The influence of scale and the spatial characteristics of landscapes on land-cover mapping using remote sensing. LANDSCAPE ECOLOGY, 10(6), 363-379.
Statistical analyses provide a means for assessing relationships between landscape spatial pattern and errors in the estimates of cover-type proportions as land-cover data are aggregated to coarser scales. Results from a multiple-linear regression model suggest that as patch sizes, variance/mean ratio, and initial proportions of cover types increase, the proportion error moves in a positive direction and is governed by the interaction of the spatial characteristics and the scale of aggregation. However, the standard linear model does not account for the different directions of scale-dependent proportion error since some classes become larger and others become smaller as the scene is aggregated. Addition of indicator variables representing class-type significantly improves the performance by allowing the model to respond differently to different classes. A regression tree model provides a much simpler fit to the complex scaling behavior through an interaction between patch size and aggregation scale. An understanding of the relationships between landscape pattern, scale, and proportion error may advance methods for correcting land-cover area estimates. Such methods could also facilitate high-resolution calibration and validation of coarse-scale remote-sensing-based land-cover mapping algorithms. Ongoing initiatives to produce global land-cover datasets from remote sensing, such as efforts within the IGBP and the EOS MODIS Land-Team, include significant emphasis on high level calibration and validation activities of this nature.