Mapping agricultural landuse patterns from time series of Landsat 8 using random forest based hierarchial approach

Sajid Pareeth*, Poolad Karimi, Mojtaba Shafiei, Charlotte De Fraiture

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Increase in irrigated area, driven by demand for more food production, in the semi-arid regions of Asia and Africa is putting pressure on the already strained available water resources. To cope and manage this situation, monitoring spatial and temporal dynamics of the irrigated area land use at basin level is needed to ensure proper allocation of water. Publicly available satellite data at high spatial resolution and advances in remote sensing techniques offer a viable opportunity. In this study, we developed a new approach using time series of Landsat 8 (L8) data and Random Forest (RF) machine learning algorithm by introducing a hierarchical post-processing scheme to extract key Land Use Land Cover (LULC) types. We implemented this approach for Mashhad basin in Iran to develop a LULC map at 15 m spatial resolution with nine classes for the crop year 2015/2016. In addition, five irrigated land use types were extracted for three crop years-2013/2014, 2014/2015, and 2015/2016-using the RF models. The total irrigated area was estimated at 1796.16 kmc, 1581.7 km 2 and 1578.26 km 2 for the cropping years 2013/2014, 2014/2015 and 2015/2016, respectively. The overall accuracy of the final LULC map was 87.2% with a kappa coefficient of 0.85. The methodology was implemented using open data and open source libraries. The ability of the RF models to extract key LULC types at basin level shows the usability of such approaches for operational near real time monitoring.

Original languageEnglish
Article number601
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number5
Early online date6 Mar 2019
Publication statusPublished - 12 Mar 2019


  • Agriculture
  • Irrigated area
  • Landsat 8
  • Landuse
  • Mashhad
  • Random Forest
  • Remote sensing

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