Mapping tropical rainforest canopies using multi-temporal spaceborne imaging spectroscopy

Ben Somers, Gregory P. Asner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1 Scopus citations


The use of imaging spectroscopy for florisic mapping of forests is complicated by the spectral similarity among coexisting species. Here we evaluated an alternative spectral unmixing strategy combining a time series of EO-1 Hyperion images and an automated feature selection strategy in MESMA. Instead of using the same spectral subset to unmix each image pixel, our modified approach allowed the spectral subsets to vary on a per pixel basis such that each pixel is evaluated using a spectral subset tuned towards maximal separability of its specific endmember class combination or species mixture. The potential of the new approach for floristic mapping of tree species in Hawaiian rainforests was quantitatively demonstrated using both simulated and actual hyperspectral image time-series. With a Cohen's Kappa coefficient of 0.65, our approach provided a more accurate tree species map compared to MESMA (Kappa = 0.54). In addition, by the selection of spectral subsets our approach was about 90% faster than MESMA. The flexible or adaptive use of band sets in spectral unmixing as such provides an interesting avenue to address spectral similarities in complex vegetation canopies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationRemote Sensing for Agriculture, Ecosystems, and Hydrology XV
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes
EventConference on Remote Sensing for Agriculture, Ecosystems, and Hydrology XV - Dresden, Germany
Duration: Sep 24 2013Sep 26 2013

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceConference on Remote Sensing for Agriculture, Ecosystems, and Hydrology XV


  • Dimensionality reduction
  • Earth Observing-1
  • Feature selection
  • Hawaii
  • Hyperion
  • Hyperspectral
  • Morella faya
  • Phenology
  • Psidium cattleianum
  • Spectral mixture analysis
  • Temporal unmixing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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