Spatial pattern recognition for crop-livestock systems using multispectral data
Within the field of pattern recognition (PR) a very active area is the clustering and classification of multispectral data, which basically aims to allocate the right class of ground category to a reflectance or radiance signal. Generally, the problem complexity is related to the incorporation of spatial characteristics that are complementary to the nonlinearities of land surface process heterogeneity, remote sensing effects and multispectral features. The present research describes the application of learning machine methods to accomplish the above task by inducting a relationship between the spectral response of farms’ land cover, and their farming system typology from a representative set of instances. Such methodologies are not traditionally used in crop-livestock studies. Nevertheless, this study shows that its application leads to simple and theoretically robust classification models. The study has covered the following phases: a)geovisualization of crop-livestock systems; b)feature extraction of both multispectral and attributive data and; c)supervised farm classification. The first is a complementary methodology to represent the spatial feature intensity of farming systems in the geographical space. The second belongs to the unsupervised learning field, which mainly involves the appropriate description of input data in a lower dimensional space. The last is a method based on statistical learning theory, which has been successfully applied to supervised classification problems and to generate models described by implicit functions. In this research the performance of various kernel methods applied to the representation and classification of crop-livestock systems described by multispectral response is studied and compared. The data from those systems include linear and nonlinearly separable groups that were labelled using multidimensional attributive data. Geovisualization findings show the existence of two well-defined farm populations within the whole study area; and three subgroups in relation to the Guarico section. The existence of these groups was confirmed by both hierarchical and kernel clustering methods, and crop-livestock systems instances were segmented and labeled into farm typologies based on: a)milk and meat production; b)reproductive management; c)stocking rate; and d)crop-forage-forest land use. The minimum set of labeled examples to properly train the kernel machine was 20 instances. Models inducted by training data sets using kernel machines were in general terms better than those from hierarchical clustering methodologies. However, the size of the training data set represents one of the main difficulties to be overcome in permitting the more general application of this technique in farming system studies. These results attain important implications for large scale monitoring of crop-livestock system; particularly to the establishment of balanced policy decision, intervention plans formulation, and a proper description of target typologies to enable investment efforts to be more focused at local issues.