Modeling and mapping regional land use/land cover change in South Central Texas

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Thushara Ranatunga and Dmitry Messen, Houston-Galveston Area Council, Houston, TX, United States
Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) conducted a land use/land cover (LULC) change detection study to generate information about the LULC changes in a 15-county area of South Central Texas. Such information is essential in regional planning, natural resource management, monitoring and modeling of environmental characteristics. The objectives of this study are (1) Identification of regional spatial patterns of each LULC conversion, (2) Estimation of the area coverage of each LULC conversion, and (3) Estimation of the net gain and losses of each LULC classes. To achieve these objectives, ArcGIS Spatial analysis functions and data management tools were employed in python environment. Change detection was estimated from 1992 to 2011 using datasets from NLCD (National Land Cover Database) 1992, NLCD 2001 and NOAA C-CAP (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Coastal Change Analysis Program) 2011. Through visual analysis and comparisons with aerial imagery, we established that NLCD 1992 and 2001 datasets contained more classification inaccuracies than the NOAA 2011 dataset. The misclassified cells in the 1992 and 2001 NLCD datasets were corrected to be consistent with the 2011 C-CAP dataset. The NLCD 2001 dataset was first corrected using a logical evaluation with 2011 classes in each pixel. Then the NLCD 1992 dataset was corrected using the correct 2001 dataset. After correcting 1992 dataset, a cell by cell comparison was conducted with the NOAA 2011 dataset, and individual changes were recorded.