Benhadj, I; Duchemin, B; Maisongrande, P; Simonneaux, V; Khabba, S; Chehbouni, A (2012). Automatic unmixing of MODIS multi-temporal data for inter-annual monitoring of land use at a regional scale (Tensift, Morocco). INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF REMOTE SENSING, 33(5), 1325-1348.
The objective of this study is to develop an approach for monitoring land use over the semi-arid Tensift-Marrakech plain, a 3000 km(2) intensively cropped area in Morocco. In this objective, the linear unmixing method is adapted to process a 6-year archive of Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) normalized difference vegetation index (NDVI) 16-day composite data at 250 m spatial resolution. The result of the processing is a description of land use in terms of fractions of three predominant classes: orchard, non-cultivated area and annual crop. The typical signatures of land classes - endmembers - are retrieved on a yearly basis using an automated algorithm that detects the most pure pixels in the study area. The algorithm first extracts typical NDVI profiles as potential endmembers, then selects the profiles that have the best ability to reproduce the variability of MODIS NDVI time series over the study area. The endmembers appear stable over the 6 years of study and coherent with the vegetation seasonality of the three targeted land classes. Validation data allow us to quantify the error on land-use fractions to about 0.10 at 1 km resolution. Land-use estimates are consistent in space and time: the orchard class is stable, and differences in water availability (irrigation and rainfall) partly explain a part of the inter-annual variations observed for the annual crop class. The advantages and drawbacks of the approach are discussed.