Optimal land use/cover classification using remote sensing imagery for hydrological modelling in a Himalayan watershed

Sameer Saran, G. Sterk, S. Kumar

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference paperAcademic

3 Citations (Scopus)


Land use/cover is an important watershed surface characteristic that affects surface runoff and erosion. Many of the available hydrological models divide the watershed into Hydrological Response Units (HRU), which are spatial units with expected similar hydrological behaviours. The division into HRU's requires good-quality spatial data on land use/cover. This paper presents different approaches to attain an optimal land use/cover map based on remote sensing imagery for a Himalayan watershed in northern India. First digital classifications using maximum likelihood classifier (MLC) and a decision tree classifier were applied. The results obtained from the decision tree were better and even improved after post classification sorting. But the obtained land use/cover map was not sufficient for the delineation of HRUs, since the agricultural land use/cover class did not discriminate between the two major crops in the area i.e. paddy and maize. Therefore we adopted a visual classification approach using optical data alone and also fused with ENVISAT ASAR data. This second step with detailed classification system resulted into better classification accuracy within the 'agricultural land' class which will be further combined with topography and soil type to derive HRU's for physically-based hydrological modelling.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationRemote sensing for agriculture, ecosystems, and hydrology VII
EditorsM. Owe, G. D'Urso
Place of PublicationFirenze/itlay
ISBN (Print)9780819469007
Publication statusPublished - 2007
EventSPIE -
Duration: 19 Sep 200519 Sep 2005



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