Remote Sensing and GIS Accuracy Assessment

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Remote Sensing and GIS Accuracy Assessment


The development of robust accuracy assessment methods for the validation of spatial data

represents a difficult challenge for the geospatial science community. The importance and timeliness
of this issue are related directly to the dramatic escalation in the development and application of  


spatial data throughout the latter 20th century. This trend, which is expected to continue, will  

become increasingly pervasive and continue to revolutionize future decision-making processes.  

However, our current ability to validate large-area spatial data sets represents a major impediment  

to many future applications. Problems associated with assessing spatial data accuracy are primarily  

related to their valued characteristic of being continuous data and to the associated geometric or  

positional errors implicit with all spatial data. Continuous data typically suffer from the problem  

of spatial autocorrelation, which violates the important statistical assumption of “independent” data.



Positional errors tend to introduce anomalous errors with the combining of multiple data sets 
layers. The majority of large-area spatial data coverages are derived from remote sensor data and  


subsequently analyzed in a GIS to provide baseline information for data-driven assessments to  

facilitate the decision-making process. 


This important topic was the focus of a special symposium sponsored by the U.S. Environmental  

Protection Agency (EPA) on “Remote Sensing and GIS Accuracy Assessment” on December 11–13,  

2001, in Las Vegas, Nevada. The symposium evaluated the important scientific elements relevant  

to the performance of accuracy assessments for remote sensing-derived data and GIS data analysis  

and integration products. A keynote address was delivered by Russell G. Congalton that provided  

attendees with an historical accuracy assessment overview and that identified current technical gaps
and established important issues that were the subject of intense 
debates throughout th symposium. 
A total of 27 technical papers were presented by an international group of scientists representing  


federal, state, and local governments, academia, and nongovernmental organizations. Specific  

technical presentations examined sampling issues, reference data collection, edge and boundary  

effects, error matrix and fuzzy assessments, error budget analysis, and special issues related to  

change detection accuracy assessment.
Abstracts submitted for presentation were evaluated for 
technical merit and assigned to technical 
sessions by the program committee members. Members then served as technical session chairs, 

thus maintaining responsibility for session content. Subsequent
 to the symposium, presenters were 

invited to submit manuscripts for consideration as chapters. This book contains 20 chapters that  

represent the important symposium outcomes. All chapters have undergone peer review and were  

determined to be suitable for publication. The editors have arranged the book into a series of  

complementary scientific topics to provide the reader with a detailed treatise on spatial data accuracy 
assessment issues


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