The effects of topographic correction and gap filling in imagery on the detection of tropical forest disturbances using a Landsat time series in Myanmar

Katsuto Shimizu, Raul Ponce-Hernandez, Oumer S. Ahmed, Tetsuji Ota, Zar Chi Win, Nobuya Mizoue, Shigejiro Yoshida

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, we evaluated the effects of topographic correction and gap filling of Landsat Enhanced Thematic Mapper Plus (ETM+) images on the accuracy of forest change detection through a trajectory-based approach. Four types of Landsat time series stacks (LTSS) were generated. These stacks resulted from combinations of topographically corrected and uncorrected imagery combined with gap-filled and unfilled stacks. These combinations of stacks were then used as input into a trajectory-based change detection. The results of change detection from trajectory-based analysis using these LTSS were compared in order to assess the effects of both topographic correction and gap-filling procedures on the ability to detect forest disturbances. The results showed that overall accuracies of change detection were improved after gap filling (10.5% and 7.5%), but were only slightly improved after topographic correction (3.6% and 0.6%). Although the gap-filling process introduced some uncertainty that might have caused false change detection, the number of pixels whose detection of disturbance was enhanced after gap filling exceeded those detecting false change. The results also showed that the topographic correction did not contribute much to improve the change detection in this study area. However, topographic correction has a potential to increase the accuracy of change detection in areas of more rugged terrain and steep slopes. This is because a direct relationship between the slope of the topography with topographic correction and an enhanced detection of disturbance in pixels from year to year was observed in this study. For robust change detection, we recommend that a gap-filling process should be included in the trajectory-based analysis procedures such as the one used in this study where a single image per year is used to characterize change. We also recommend that in areas of rugged terrain, a topographic correction in the image pre-processing should be implemented.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3655-3674
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Remote Sensing
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - Aug 17 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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