The impact of misclassification in land use maps in the prediction of landscape dynamics

Shoufan Fang, George Gertner, Guangxing Wang, Alan Anderson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Land use maps are widely used in modeling land use change, urban sprawl, and for other landscape related studies. A misclassification confusion matrix for land use maps is usually provided as a measure of their quality and uncertainty. However, this very important information is rarely considered in land use map based studies, especially in modeling landscape dynamics. Ignoring uncertainty of land use maps may cause models to provide unreliable predictions. This study is an attempt to investigate the impact of the accuracy of land use maps used as input for an urban sprawl model. In the study area, the regional confusion matrix has been localized using a topographical map. Based on the regional and local confusion matrices, several error levels have been defined. The results showed that a localized confusion matrix that reflected the characteristics of the study area had error rates that were much different than the regional confusion matrix. The predictions of the probability of urban sprawl based on the land use maps and defined error levels were quite different.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)233-242
Number of pages10
JournalLandscape Ecology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2006


  • Confusion matrix
  • Forest
  • Land use map
  • Logistic regression
  • Spatial modeling
  • Uncertainty
  • Urban sprawl

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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