The impact of positional errors on soft classification accuracy assessment: A simulation analysis


Validating or accessing the accuracy of soft classification maps has rapidly developed over the past few years. This assessment employs a soft error matrix as generalized from the traditional, hard classification error matrix. However, the impact of positional error on the soft classification is uncertain and whether the well-accepted half-pixel registration accuracy is suitable for the soft classification accuracy assessment is unknown. In this paper, a simulation analysis was conducted to examine the influence of positional error on the overall accuracy (OA) and kappa in soft classification accuracy assessment under different landscape conditions (i.e., spatial characteristics and spatial resolutions). Results showed that with positional error ranging from 0 to 3 soft pixels, the OA-error varied from 0 to 44.6 percent while the kappa-error varied from 0 to 93.7 percent. Landscape conditions with smaller mean patch size (MPS) and greater fragmentation produced greater positional error impact on the accuracy measures at spatial resolutions of 1 and 2 unit distances. However, this trend did not hold for spatial resolutions of 5 and 10 unit distances. A half of a pixel was not sufficient to keep the overall accuracy error and kappa error under 10 percent. The results indicate that for soft classification accuracy assessment the requirement for registration accuracy is higher and depends greatly on the landscape characteristics. There is a great need to consider positional error for validating soft classification maps of different spatial resolutions.


Natural Resources and the Environment

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Remote Sensing



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© 2015 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).