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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2011

Formalized interpretation of compound land use objects – Mapping historical summer farms from a single satellite image

Ahlqvist, Ola; Wästfelt, Anders; Nielsen, Michael


Notions of land cover relating to physical landscape characters are readily captured by satellite imagery. Land use on the other hand relates more to the societal aspects of a landscape. We argue that much of the spatial configuration of landscape characters is related to land use and that satellite data can be used to represent and investigate interpretations of land use. We propose and demonstrate the joint use of a novel SRPC procedure for satellite imagery together with an explicit representation of category semantics. We use these two mechanisms to identify a collection of conceptual spaces related to land use on Swedish historic summer farms. We also outline a framework for analysis of the relations between two separate ways of knowing: the machine-based knowledge and the human, mental knowledge. An evaluation demonstrates that satellite images can be used to identify land use processes as a mixture of land cover objects occurring in particular spatial contextual relationships closely tied to the land use category semantics. This opens up an unexplored possibility for research on vague spatial ontologies and questions on how to formally articulate different interpretations of space, land use, and other branches of spatial social science

Published in

Journal of Land Use Science
2011, Volume: 7, number: 1, pages: 89-107

    SLU Authors

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Landscape Architecture
    Agricultural Science

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