Machine Learning-Based Classification for Crop-Type Mapping Using the Fusion of High-Resolution Satellite Imagery in a Semiarid Area

Scientifica (Cairo). 2021 Apr 20;2021:8810279. doi: 10.1155/2021/8810279. eCollection 2021.


The monitoring of cultivated crops and the types of different land covers is a relevant environmental and economic issue for agricultural lands management and crop yield prediction. In this context, this paper aims to use and evaluate the contribution of multisensors classification based on machine learning classifiers to crop-type identification in a semiarid area of Morocco. It is a very heterogeneous zone characterized by mixed crops (tree crops with annual crops, same crop with different phenological states during the same agricultural season, crop rotation, etc.). Therefore, such heterogeneity made the crop-type discrimination more complicated. To overcome these challenges, the present work is the first study in this area which used the fusion of high spatiotemporal resolution Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 satellite images for land use and land cover mapping. Three machine learning classifier algorithms, artificial neural network (ANN), support vector machine (SVM), and maximum likelihood (ML), were applied to identify and map crop types in irrigated perimeter. In situ observations of the year 2018, for the R3 perimeter of Haouz plain in central Morocco, were used with satellite data of the same year to perform this work. The results showed that combined images acquired in C-band and the optical range improved clearly the crop-type classification performance (overall accuracy = 89%; Kappa = 0.85) compared to the classification results of optical or SAR data alone.