Zhang, X; Liu, LY; Wu, CS; Chen, XD; Gao, Y; Xie, S; Zhang, B (2020). Development of a global 30m impervious surface map using multisource and multitemporal remote sensing datasets with the Google Earth Engine platform. EARTH SYSTEM SCIENCE DATA, 12(3), 1625-1648.

The amount of impervious surface is an important indicator in the monitoring of the intensity of human activity and environmental change. The use of remote sensing techniques is the only means of accurately carrying out global mapping of impervious surfaces covering large areas. Optical imagery can capture surface reflectance characteristics, while synthetic-aperture radar (SAR) images can be used to provide information on the structure and dielectric properties of surface materials. In addition, nighttime light (NTL) imagery can detect the intensity of human activity and thus provide important a priori probabilities of the occurrence of impervious surfaces. In this study, we aimed to generate an accurate global impervious surface map at a resolution of 30m for 2015 by combining Landsat 8 Operational Land Image (OLI) optical images, Sentinel-1 SAR images and Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) NTL images based on the Google Earth Engine (GEE) platform. First, the global impervious and nonimpervious training samples were automatically derived by combining the GlobeLand30 land-cover product with VIIRS NTL and MODIS enhanced vegetation index (EVI) imagery. Then, the local adaptive random forest classifiers, allowing for a regional adjustment of the classification parameters to take into account the regional characteristics, were trained and used to generate regional impervious surface maps for each 5 degrees x 5 degrees geographical grid using local training samples and multisource and multitemporal imagery. Finally, a global impervious surface map, produced by mosaicking numerous 5 degrees x 5 degrees regional maps, was validated by interpretation samples and then compared with five existing impervious products (GlobeLand30, FROM-GLC, NUACI, HBASE and GHSL). The results indicated that the global impervious surface map produced using the proposed multisource, multitemporal random forest classification (MSMT_RF) method was the most accurate of the maps, having an overall accuracy of 95.1% and kappa coefficient (one of the most commonly used statistics to test interrater reliability; Olofsson et al., 2014) of 0.898 as against 85.6% and 0.695 for NUACI, 89.6% and 0.780 for FROM-GLC, 90.3% and 0.794 for GHSL, 88.4% and 0.753 for GlobeLand30, and 88.0% and 0.745 for HBASE using all 15 regional validation data. Therefore, it is concluded that a global 30m impervious surface map can accurately and efficiently be generated by the proposed MSMT_RF method based on the GEE platform. The global impervious surface map generated in this paper is available at (Zhang and Liu, 2019).