EXTENDING ACCURACY ASSESSMENT PROCEDURES OF GLOBAL COVERAGE LAND COVER MAPS THROUGH SPATIAL ASSOCIATION ANALYSIS
High-resolution land cover maps are in high demand for many environmental applications. Yet, the information they provide is uncertain unless the accuracy of these maps is known. Therefore, accuracy assessment should be an integral part of land cover map production as a way of ensuring reliable products. The traditional accuracy metrics like Overall Accuracy and Producer’s and User’s accuracies – based on the confusion matrix – are useful to understand global accuracy of the map, but they do not provide insight into the possible nature or source of the errors. The idea behind this work is to complement traditional accuracy metrics with the analysis of error spatial patterns. The aim is to discover errors underlying features which can be later employed to improve the traditional accuracy assessment. The designed procedure is applied to the accuracy assessment of the GlobeLand30 global land cover map for the Lombardy Region (Northern Italy) by means of comparison with the DUSAF regional land cover map. Traditional accuracy assessment quantified the classification accuracies of the map. Indeed, critical errors were pointed out and further analyses on their spatial patterns were performed by means of the Moran’s I indicator. Additionally, visual exploration of the spatial patterns was performed. This allowed describing possible sources of errors. Both software and analysis strategies were described in detail to facilitate future improvement and replication of the procedure. The results of the exploratory experiments are critically discussed in relation to the benefits that they potentially introduce into the traditional accuracy assessment procedure.