Remote Sensing, Vol. 11, Pages 629: Efficient Identification of Corn Cultivation Area with Multitemporal Synthetic Aperture Radar and Optical Images in the Google Earth Engine Cloud Platform (Remote Sensing)
The distribution of corn cultivation areas is crucial for ensuring food security, eradicating hunger, adjusting crop structures, and managing water resources. The emergence of high-resolution images, such as Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2, enables the identification of corn at the field scale, and these images can be applied on a large scale with the support of cloud computing technology. Hebei Province is the major production area of corn in China, and faces serious groundwater overexploitation due to irrigation. Corn was mapped using multitemporal synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and optical images in the Google Earth Engine (GEE) cloud platform. A total of 1712 scenes of Sentinel-2 data and 206 scenes of Sentinel-1 data acquired from June to October 2017 were processed to composite image metrics as input to a random forest (RF) classifier. To avoid speckle noise in the classification results, the pixel-based classification result was integrated with the object segmentation boundary completed in eCognition software to generate an object-based corn map according to crop intensity. The results indicated that the approach using multitemporal SAR and optical images in the GEE cloud platform is reliable for corn mapping. The corn map had a high F1-Score of 90.08% and overall accuracy of 89.89% according to the test dataset, which was not involved in model training. The corn area estimated from optical and SAR images was well correlated with the census data, with an R2 = 0.91 and a root mean square error (RMSE) of 470.90 km2. The results of the corn map are expected to provide detailed information for optimizing crop structure and water management, which are critical issues in this region.