Comparison of optical and SAR data in tropical land cover classification for REDD+

Laura Sirro, Tuomas Häme, Yrjö Rauste, Oleg Antropov, Jarno Hämäläinen, Petri Latva-Käyrä, Fernando Paz, Bernardus de Jong

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference article in proceedingsScientific


A comparison study was performed to evaluate the applicability of optical and SAR data for land cover classification for REDD+ services on a test site in Chiapas State in Mexico. The accuracy of the maps was assessed using an independent data set that was collected from very high resolution optical data. The overall accuracy of the maps varied between 79 % of ENVISAT ASAR and 94 % of RapidEye for the forest - non-forest classifications. The accuracies for the six IPCC compliant classes were from 5 to 9 percentage units lower. Results that were obtained with the optical data were somewhat better than the results using SAR data. However, the difference between the optical and SAR results was fairly small when L-band SAR data were used. L-band SAR data seem to be competitive alternative for optical data particularly in the areas with frequent cloud cover
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the ESA Living Planet Symposium 2013
Place of PublicationNoordwijk
PublisherEuropean Space Agency (ESA)
Number of pages7
ISBN (Print)978-92-9221-286-5
Publication statusPublished - 2013
MoE publication typeB3 Non-refereed article in conference proceedings
EventESA Living Planet Symposium 2013 - Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Duration: 9 Sep 201313 Sep 2013
Conference number: ESA SP-722


ConferenceESA Living Planet Symposium 2013
CountryUnited Kingdom


  • Remote sensing
  • land cover
  • classification
  • REDD
  • optical
  • SAR

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