Urban Land Use and Land Cover Classification Using Multisource Remote Sensing Images and Social Media Data
Land use and land cover (LULC) are diverse and complex in urban areas. Remotely sensed images are commonly used for land cover classification but hardly identifies urban land use and functional areas because of the semantic gap (i.e., different definitions of similar or identical buildings). Social media data, “marks” left by people using mobile phones, have great potential to overcome this semantic gap. Multisource remote sensing data are also expected to be useful in distinguishing different LULC types. This study examined the capability of combined multisource remote sensing images and social media data in urban LULC classification. Multisource remote sensing images included a Chinese ZiYuan-3 (ZY-3) high-resolution image, a Landsat 8 Operational Land Imager (OLI) multispectral image, and a Sentinel-1A synthetic aperture radar (SAR) image. Social media data consisted of the hourly spatial distribution of WeChat users, which is a ubiquitous messaging and payment platform in China. LULC was classified into 10 types, namely, vegetation, bare land, road, water, urban village, greenhouses, residential, commercial, industrial, and educational buildings. A method that integrates object-based image analysis, decision trees, and random forests was used for LULC classification. The overall accuracy and kappa value attained by the combination of multisource remote sensing images and WeChat data were 87.55% and 0.84, respectively. They further improved to 91.55% and 0.89, respectively, by integrating the textural and spatial features extracted from the ZY-3 image. The ZY-3 high-resolution image was essential for urban LULC classification because it is necessary for the accurate delineation of land parcels. The addition of Landsat 8 OLI, Sentinel-1A SAR, or WeChat data also made an irreplaceable contribution to the classification of different LULC types. The Landsat 8 OLI image helped distinguish between the urban village, residential buildings, commercial buildings, and roads, while the Sentinel-1A SAR data reduced the confusion between commercial buildings, greenhouses, and water. Rendering the spatial and temporal dynamics of population density, the WeChat data improved the classification accuracies of an urban village, greenhouses, and commercial buildings.