WILL IT BLEND? VISUALIZATION AND ACCURACY EVALUATION OF HIGH-RESOLUTION FUZZY VEGETATION MAPS
Keywords: Fuzzy mapping, accuracy assessment, random forests, accuracy visualization, colour blending, vegetation mapping, quality control
Abstract. Instead of assigning every map pixel to a single class, fuzzy classification includes information on the class assigned to each pixel but also the certainty of this class and the alternative possible classes based on fuzzy set theory. The advantages of fuzzy classification for vegetation mapping are well recognized, but the accuracy and uncertainty of fuzzy maps cannot be directly quantified with indices developed for hard-boundary categorizations. The rich information in such a map is impossible to convey with a single map product or accuracy figure. Here we introduce a suite of evaluation indices and visualization products for fuzzy maps generated with ensemble classifiers. We also propose a way of evaluating classwise prediction certainty with “dominance profiles” visualizing the number of pixels in bins according to the probability of the dominant class, also showing the probability of all the other classes. Together, these data products allow a quantitative understanding of the rich information in a fuzzy raster map both for individual classes and in terms of variability in space, and also establish the connection between spatially explicit class certainty and traditional accuracy metrics. These map products are directly comparable to widely used hard boundary evaluation procedures, support active learning-based iterative classification and can be applied for operational use.