Land Cover / Land Use Analysis

Business and government entities require current information to support decisions. The world is constantly shifting, but much of the public data that is available describing those shifts are not released until months or years after the fact. Ploughman offers a competitive advantage to clients by providing rapid turnaround in the production of datasets to meet the expressed needs of clients in areas such as land use and land classification analysis, including using remote sensing and satellite imagery to generate up-to-date information.

A recent Ploughman client was interested in determining what areas had been developed over the last decade near particular metropolitan areas. The client was interested in a more current assessment than the most recent United States Geological Survey National Landcover Dataset available at the time of the request. To address this, Ploughman analyzed 30m resolution satellite imagery from the beginning and end of the decade to identify where land use had changed.

Once Ploughman assembled appropriate collections of imagery for the decade’s endpoints (both free from noise and covering comparable times of year), regression analysis was used to classify pixels in those images into a number of land use classes.

Operations Research & Logistics
(NASA 2010)

Ploughman was able to compare the classification at the beginning date to the classification at the end date for the satellite imagery tile in use, highlighting areas where a pixel had shifted from one particular class to another.

Ploughman’s analysis enabled the client to have timely information about land use at low cost. Other applications of this approach include identifying certain types of buildings or structures in an area, examining boundaries or extents of contiguous land use bodies, and differentiating similar land classes remotely.