Advanced exploratory data analysis for mapping regional canopy cover

Yaguang Xu, John W. Prather, Haydee M. Hampton, Ethan N. Aumack, Brett G. Dickson, Thomas D. Sisk

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


USGS Digital Orthophoto Quadrangles (DOQs) are a form of inexpensive, high spatial resolution (1 m ground resolution) imagery available for most regions of the United States. Typically, DOQs have been used in the construction of "basemaps" or as training datasets. In this paper we present a technical approach that uses DOQs as the primary data source to map regional forest canopy cover. This approach, a form of advanced exploratory data analysis (AEDA), can separate areas of crown, shadow, and non-crown vegetation using a single value threshold and a "value range" threshold obtained by analyzing the statistical plots built on a multifractal model. By applying AEDA, we can distinguish the crown, crown boundary zone, shadow areas, and non-crown areas within a DOQ mosaic by their distinctive multifractal properties. Over a period of two years, we mapped canopy cover of 20,000 km2 of ponderosa pine-dominated forest across northern Arizona using this technique. We used two hundred ground plot measurements from an independent source to assess the accuracy of the canopy cover map across an 8,000 km2 region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)31-38
Number of pages8
JournalPhotogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computers in Earth Sciences


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