Landscape Ecology

, Volume 23, Issue 5, pp 505–511 | Cite as

On the accuracy of landscape pattern analysis using remote sensing data

  • Guofan ShaoEmail author
  • Jianguo Wu


Advances in remote sensing technologies have provided practical means for land use and land cover mapping which is critically important for landscape ecological studies. However, all classifications of remote sensing data are subject to different kinds of errors, and these errors can be carried over or propagated in subsequent landscape pattern analysis. When these uncertainties go unreported, as they do commonly in the literature, they become hidden errors. While this is apparently an important issue in the study of landscapes from either a biophysical or socioeconomic perspective, limited progress has been made in resolving this problem. Here we discuss how errors of mapped data can affect landscape metrics and possible strategies which can help improve the reliability of landscape pattern analysis.


Landscape pattern Land use and land cover maps Classification accuracy Landscape metrics Errors Remote sensing 



We thank four anonymous reviewers for their critical comments on an earlier version of the paper. JW’s research was supported in part by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. BCS-0508002 (Biocomplexity/CNH) and under Grant No. DEB-0423704, Central Arizona-Phoenix Long-Term Ecological Research (CAP LTER).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Forestry and Natural ResourcesPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  2. 2.School of Life Sciences & Global Institute of SustainabilityArizona State UniversityTempeUSA
  3. 3.Sino-US Center for Conservation, Energy and Sustainability Science (SUCCESS)Inner Mongolia UniversityHohhotChina

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