Research Article Open Access

Characterization of the Earth's Surface State by Unsupervised Classification: Case of Vegetated, Aquatic and Mineral Surfaces

Jean-Claude Okaingni1, Sié Ouattara1, Adles Kouassi 2 and Alain Clément3
  • 1 Laboratory of Signals and Electrical Systems (L2SE)), Institut National Polytechnique Houphouët Boigny, Yamoussoukro, Cote D'Ivoire
  • 2 Ecole Supérieure des Technologies de l’Information et de la Communication (ESATIC), Abidjan, Cote D'Ivoire
  • 3 Institut Universitaire de Technologie d’Angers (IUT), Angers, France


In this study, we propose an unsupervised classification scheme based on the Dempster-Shafer Theory (TDS) and the Dezert-Smarandache Theory (DSmT) to characterize vegetated, aquatic and mineral surfaces. From pre-processed ASTER satellite images (georeferencing, geometric correction and 15 m re-sampling), neo-channels were produced by determining the spectral indices NDVI, MNDWI and NDBaI, considered as sources of information for classification of a given pixel. NDVI is a contrast function to highlight vegetation. By account, the MNDWI makes it possible to characterize the water and the NDBaI makes it possible to recognize the mineral resources. Then, we modeled respectively the formalisms of the DST and the DSmT, these formalisms are modeling tools close to advanced probabilities based on the notions of belief and fusion functions to take into account certain imperfections (uncertainty, ignorance, etc.) encountered in the acquisition of images. In addition, the DST manages a formalism of disjunction between the sources during the DSmT simultaneously manages a disjunction and a conjunction between the sources. Next we realized the algorithms and related codes that we implemented in the MATLAB environment. Our contribution lies in taking into account the imperfections (inaccuracies and uncertainties) linked to source information through the use of mass functions based on a simple Gaussian distribution support model in order to model each focal element independently of the others and to evaluate the belonging of a pixel to a class with respect to the majority of elements representing said class. The resulting results show that the DST approach is relatively satisfactory for the unsupervised classification of mineral surfaces and aquatic surfaces while it is not satisfactory for vegetated surfaces according to all proposed models. As for the DSmT, it presents satisfactory results for all the models proposed. The model with the exclusion integrity constraint E∩V ∩ M = φ was selected as the best model because having, in addition to an average rate of well-graded pixels of 93.34%, a compliance rate (96, 37%) with the terrain higher than those of the other models implemented.

American Journal of Applied Sciences
Volume 15 No. 7, 2018, 358-369


Submitted On: 17 May 2018 Published On: 27 August 2018

How to Cite: Okaingni, J., Ouattara, S., Kouassi , A. & Clément, A. (2018). Characterization of the Earth's Surface State by Unsupervised Classification: Case of Vegetated, Aquatic and Mineral Surfaces. American Journal of Applied Sciences, 15(7), 358-369.

  • 4 Citations



  • Unsupervised Classification
  • DST
  • DSmT
  • ASTER Satellite Images
  • NDVI
  • NDBaI
  • PCR5