Malinowski, R.; Groom, G.; Schwanghart, W.; Heckrath, G. Detection and delineation of localized flooding from worldview-2 multispectral data. Remote Sensing 2015, 7, 14853-14875.

Remote sensing technology serves as a powerful tool for analyzing geospatial characteristics of flood inundation events at various scales. However, the performance of remote sensing methods depends heavily on the flood characteristics and landscape settings. Difficulties might be encountered in mapping the extent of localized flooding with shallow water on riverine floodplain areas, where patches of herbaceous vegetation are interspersed with open water surfaces. To address the difficulties in mapping inundation on areas with complex water and vegetation compositions, a high spatial resolution dataset has to be used to reduce the problem of mixed pixels. The main objective of our study was to investigate the possibilities of using a single date WorldView-2 image of very high spatial resolution and supporting data to analyze spatial patterns of localized flooding on a riverine floodplain. We used a decision tree algorithm with various combinations of input variables including spectral bands of the WorldView-2 image, selected spectral indices dedicated to mapping water surfaces and vegetation, and topographic data. The overall accuracies of the twelve flood extent maps derived with the decision tree method and performed on both pixels and image objects ranged between 77% and 95%. The highest mapping overall accuracy was achieved with a method that utilized all available input data and the object-based image analysis. Our study demonstrates the possibility of using single date WorldView-2 data for analyzing flooding events at high spatial detail despite the absence of spectral bands from the short-waveform region that are frequently used in water related studies. Our study also highlights the importance of topographic data in inundation analyses. The greatest difficulties were met in mapping water surfaces under dense canopy herbaceous vegetation, due to limited water surface exposure and the dominance of vegetation reflectance.