ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints201809.0573.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Other Keywords: crowdsourcing; citizen science; agriculture; street-view; in-situ; LUCAS; Copernicus
Online: 28 September 2018 (16:30:41 CEST)
New approaches to collect in-situ data are needed to complement the high spatial (10~m) and temporal (5-day) resolution of Copernicus Sentinel satellite observations. Making sense of Sentinel observations requires high quality and timely in-situ data for training and validation. Classical ground truth collection is expensive, lacks scale, fails to exploit opportunities for automation, and is prone to sampling error. Here we evaluate the potential contribution of opportunistically exploiting crowd-sourced street-level imagery to collect massive high-quality in-situ data in the context of crop monitoring. This study assesses this potential by answering two questions: 1) what is the spatial availability of these images across the European Union (EU)? and 2) can these images be transformed to useful data? To answer the first question, we evaluated the EU availability of street-level images on Mapillary - the largest open-access platform for such images - against the Land Use and land Cover Area frame Survey (LUCAS) 2018, a systematic surveyed sampling of 337031 points. For 37.78% of the LUCAS points a crowd-sourced image is available within a 2-km buffer, with a mean distance of 816.11 m. We estimate that 9.44% of the EU territory has a crowd-sourced image within 300-m from a LUCAS point, illustrating the huge potential of crowd-sourcing as a complementary sampling tool. After artificial and built up (63.14%), and inland water (43.67%) land cover classes, arable land has the highest availability at 40.78%. To answer the second question, we focus on identifying crops at parcel level using all 13.6 million Mapillary images collected in the Netherlands. Only 1.9% of the contributors generated 75.15% of the images. A procedure was developed to select and harvest the pictures potentially best suited to identify crops using the geometries of 785710 Dutch parcels and the pictures' meta-data such as camera orientation and focal length. Availability of crowd-sourced imagery looking at parcels was assessed for 8 different crop groups with the 2017 parcel level declarations. Parcel revisits during the growing season allowed to track crop growth. Examples illustrate the capacity to recognize crops and their phenological development on crowd-sourced street-level imagery. Consecutive images taken during the same capture track allow selecting the image with the best unobstructed view. In the future, dedicated crop capture tasks can improve image quality and expand coverage in rural areas.
ARTICLE | doi:10.20944/preprints202009.0574.v1
Subject: Earth Sciences, Other Keywords: land cover; land use; citizen science; mobile apps; in-situ data collection; LUCAS
Online: 24 September 2020 (08:26:29 CEST)
There are many new land use and land cover (LULC) products emerging yet there is still a lack of in-situ data for training, validation, and change detection purposes. The LUCAS (Land Use Cover Area frame Sample) survey is one of the few authoritative in-situ field campaigns, which takes place every three years in European Union member countries. More recently, a study has considered whether citizen science and crowdsourcing could complement LUCAS survey data, e.g., through the FotoQuest Austria mobile app and crowdsourcing campaign. Although the data obtained from the campaign were promising when compared with authoritative LUCAS survey data, there were classes that were not well classified by the citizens, and the photographs submitted through the app were not always of sufficient quality. For this reason, in the latest FotoQuest Go Europe 2018 campaign, several improvements were made to the app to facilitate interaction with the citizens contributing and to improve their accuracy in LULC identification. In addition to extending the locations from Austria to Europe, a change detection component (comparing land cover in 2018 to the 2015 LUCAS photographs) was added, as well as an improved LC decision tree and a near real-time quality assurance system to provide feedback on the distance to the target location, the LULC classes chosen and the quality of the photographs. Another modification was the implementation of a monetary incentive scheme in which users received between 1 to 3 Euros for each successfully completed quest of sufficient quality. The purpose of this paper is to present these new features and to compare the results obtained by the citizens with authoritative LUCAS data from 2018 in terms of LULC and change in LC. We also compared the results between the FotoQuest campaigns in 2015 and 2018 and found a significant improvement in 2018, i.e., a much higher match of LC between FotoQuest Go Europe and LUCAS. Finally, we present the results from a user survey to discuss challenges encountered during the campaign and what further improvements could be made in the future, including better in-app navigation and offline maps, making FotoQuest a model for enabling the collection of large amounts of land cover data at a low cost.