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Land cover change detection using autocorrelation analysis on MODIS time-series data: detection of new human settlements in the Gauteng Province of South Africa

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-17, 13:09 authored by Kleynhans, W, Brian SalmonBrian Salmon, Jan OlivierJan Olivier, van den Bergh, F, Wessels, KJ, Grobler, TL, Steenkamp, KC
Human settlement expansion is one of the most pervasive forms of land cover change in the Gauteng province of South Africa. A method for detecting new settlement developments in areas that are typically covered by natural vegetation using 500 m MODIS time-series satellite data is proposed. The method is a per pixel change alarm that uses the temporal autocorrelation to infer a change index which yields a change or no-change decision after thresholding. Simulated change data was generated and used to determine a threshold during an off-line optimization phase. After optimization the method was evaluated on examples of known land cover change in the study area and experimental results indicate a 92% change detection accuracy with a 15% false alarm rate. The method shows good performance when compared to a traditional NDVI differencing method that achieved a 75% change detection accuracy with a 24% false alarm rate for the same study area.


Publication title

IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Applied Earth Observations and Remote Sensing




777 - 783




School of Engineering


IEEE Geoscience & Remote Sensing Society

Place of publication

United States

Rights statement

Copyright 2012 IEEE

Repository Status

  • Restricted

Socio-economic Objectives

Expanding knowledge in engineering

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