Home Natural Resource Management eCognition enables automatic analysis of British Columbian forests

eCognition enables automatic analysis of British Columbian forests

Definiens Imaging GmbH and the Canadian consulting firm Silvatech Consulting Ltd successfully completed a joint consulting project. The companies developed a strategy enabling the Ministry of Sustainable Resource Management (MSRM) of British Columbia to automate a portion of the forest inventory creation and update process. The MSRM required a fast and precise solution for interpretation of satellite images in order to efficiently map new clear-cut areas and classify land. The strategy offered by Definiens and Silvatech is based on eCognition, the object-oriented geo imaging software of Definiens.

Experts of Definiens and Silvatech developed specific processes, methods and algorithms for eCognition to meet the requirements of the ministry. eCognition is able to automatically recognise polygons of different vegetation and identify change features like new cut blocks and logging roads. Data inputs included Landsat 5 and 7 ETM multispectral and panchromatic datasets with resolutions of 30 and 15 meters as well as IKONOS data sets with resolutions of one and four meters. Integration with value adding processes is facilitated by eCognition’s interface with most of the common software systems used for remote sensing analysis including PCI, Erdas, and Arcview.

High Precision and Robustness
The high level of precision and reliability of eCognition has been proven by tests with satellite images of forest areas for which already a huge amount of reference data is available. Additionally, Definiens and Silvatech successfully tested the software with images of other test areas showing that the fuzzy classification approach of eCognition results in high robustness versus parameter variations.

Solution With High Potential
“The MSRM is very pleased with the results as both aspects of the project – mapping new harvest areas und automating the British Columbian land classification scheme – showed great potential”, said Cameron Brown, Strategic Planning and Analysis Forester at Silvatech Consulting.