Constructing a 30m African Cropland Layer for 2016 by Integrating Multiple Remote sensing, crowdsourced, and Auxiliary Datasets

Citation:
Nabil, M., M. Zhang, B. Wu, J. Bofana, and A. Elnashar, "Constructing a 30m African Cropland Layer for 2016 by Integrating Multiple Remote sensing, crowdsourced, and Auxiliary Datasets", Big Earth Data, vol. 6, issue 1, pp. 54-76, 2022.

Abstract:

Despite its essential importance to various spatial agriculture and environmental applications, the information on actual cropland area and its geographical distribution remain highly uncertain over Africa among remote-sensing products. Each of the African regions has its unique physical and environmental limiting factors to accurate cropland mapping, which leads to high spatial discrepancies among remote sensing cropland products. Since no dataset could cope with all limitations, multiple datasets initially derived from various remote sensing sensors and classification techniques must be integrated into a more accurate cropland product than individual layers. Here, in the current study, four cropland products, produced initially from multiple sensors (e.g. Landsat-8 OLI, Sentinel-2 MSI, and PROBA–V) to cover the period (2015–2017), were integrated based on their cropland mapping accuracy to build a more accurate cropland layer. The four cropland layers’ accuracy was assessed at Agro-ecological zones units via an intensive reference dataset (17,592 samples). The most accurate cropland layer was then identified for each zone to construct the final cropland mask at 30 m resolution for the nominal year of 2016 over Africa. As a result, the new layer was produced in higher cropland mapping accuracy (overall accuracy = 91.64% and cropland’s F-score = 0.75). The layer mapped the African cropland area as 282 Mha (9.38% of the Continent area). Compared to earlier cropland synergy layers, the constructed cropland mask showed a considerable improvement in its spatial resolution (30 m instead of 250 m), mapping quality, and closeness to official statistics (R2 = 0.853 and RMSE = 2.85 Mha). The final layer can be downloaded as described under the “Data Availability Statement” section.

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