Mapping moderate-scale land-cover over very large geographic areas within a collaborative framework: A case study of the Southwest Regional Gap Analysis Project (SWReGAP)

Remote Sensing of EnvironmentJ. Lowry

Land-cover mapping efforts within the USGS Gap Analysis Program have traditionally been state-centered; each state having the responsibility of implementing a project design for the geographic area within their state boundaries. The Southwest Regional Gap Analysis Project (SWReGAP) was the first formal GAP project designed at a regional, multi-state scale. The project area comprises the southwestern states of Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Utah. The land-cover map/dataset was generated using regionally consistent geospatial data (Landsat ETM+ imagery (1999–2001) and DEM derivatives), similar field data collection protocols, a standardized land-cover legend, and a common modeling approach (decision tree classifier). Partitioning of mapping responsibilities amongst the five collaborating states was organized around ecoregion-based "mapping zones." Over the course of two-and-a-half field seasons, approximately 93,000 reference samples were collected directly or obtained from other contemporary projects, for the land-cover modeling effort. The final map was made public in 2004 and contains 125 landcover classes. An internal validation of 85 of the classes, representing 91% of the land area, was performed. Agreement between withheld samples and the validated dataset was 61% (KHAT=.60, n=17,030). This paper presents an overview of the methodologies used to create the regional land-cover dataset and highlights issues associated with large-area mapping within a coordinated, multi-institutional management framework.

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Citation

  • Lowry J, et al. (2007) Mapping moderate-scale land-cover over very large geographic areas within a collaborative framework: A case study of the Southwest Regional Analysis Project (SWReGAP). Remote Sensing of Environment 108, pp. 59-73.