, Volume 35, Issue 2, pp 335–348 | Cite as

A Semi-Automated, Multi-Source Data Fusion Update of a Wetland Inventory for East-Central Minnesota, USA

  • Steven M. Kloiber
  • Robb D. Macleod
  • Aaron J. Smith
  • Joseph F. Knight
  • Brian J. Huberty
Original Research


Comprehensive wetland inventories are an essential tool for wetland management, but developing and maintaining an inventory is expensive and technically challenging. Funding for these efforts has also been problematic. Here we describe a large-area application of a semi-automated process used to update a wetland inventory for east-central Minnesota. The original inventory for this area was the product of a labor-intensive, manual photo-interpretation process. The present application incorporated high resolution, multi-spectral imagery from multiple seasons; high resolution elevation data derived from lidar; satellite radar imagery; and other GIS data. Map production combined image segmentation and random forest classification along with aerial photo-interpretation. More than 1000 validation data points were acquired using both independent photo-interpretation as well as field reconnaissance. Overall accuracy for wetland identification was 90 % compared to field data and 93 % compared to photo-interpretation data. Overall accuracy for wetland type was 72 and 78 % compared to field and photo-interpretation data, respectively. By automating the most time consuming part of the image interpretations, initial delineation of boundaries and identification of broad wetland classes, we were able to allow the image interpreters to focus their efforts on the more difficult components, such as the assignment of detailed wetland classes and modifiers.


Wetlands inventory Wetland mapping Accuracy assessment Remote sensing 



Funding for this project was provided by the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources. The Trust Fund is a permanent fund constitutionally established by the citizens of Minnesota to assist in the protection, conservation, preservation, and enhancement of the states air, water, land, fish, wildlife, and other natural resources. Special thanks to Molly Martin of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for technical and field assistance. We would also like to thank Dan Wovcha and Doug Norris from the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources for their helpful review of the draft manuscript.

Supplementary material

13157_2014_621_MOESM1_ESM.jpg (1.5 mb)
ESM Fig. 5 A comparison of the original NWI wetland boundaries (green) to the updated wetland boundaries (blue) shown on top of a false color-infrared aerial image (JPG 1.52 mb)


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Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Steven M. Kloiber
    • 1
  • Robb D. Macleod
    • 2
  • Aaron J. Smith
    • 3
  • Joseph F. Knight
    • 4
  • Brian J. Huberty
    • 5
  1. 1.Minnesota Department of Natural ResourcesSt. PaulUSA
  2. 2.Ducks Unlimited IncAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Equinox Analytics IncColumbiaUSA
  4. 4.Department of Forest ResourcesUniversity of MinnesotaSaint PaulUSA
  5. 5.U.S. Fish & Wildlife ServiceBloomingtonUSA

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