Land Use Classification System using NAIP Imagery

2012 Fairfax County Regional Science and Engineering Fair

The abstract below was written by the student. The Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District made no editorial changes.

Land Use Classification System using NAIP Imagery

by Gina L. Li, Langley High School


The purpose of this project is the use of the National Agricultural Imagery Program’s (NAIP) high resolution photography to derive algorithms that accurately detect and calculate the area of different land surface types including trees, grass, water and others. NAIP imagery is taken measured in four bands: bands 1 through 3 represent visible light measurements of blue, green and red respectively. Band 4 represents near infrared measurements which are helpful in remote sensing. The quantitative relationship between the surface type (trees, grass, water, etc.) and the band properties can be established. By analyzing well-chosen samples of area homogenous of a single surface, it has been found that a typical ratio has a typical range of 1.0-1.5 for vegetation (trees and grass); while a typical ratio range for water is about 0.55-0.65. To further distinguish between trees and grass, the spatial variance (or standard deviation) of the ratio is used. It has been found that trees have a standard deviation larger than 0.05, and grasses have one that is less than 0.05. Using these distinguishing algorithms and NAIP imagery, an interactive web based application has been made which displays a high resolution land use map of Fairfax County with the capability to zoom in and out of resolutions of 1m, 2m, 4m, 6m, 16m, 32m and 64m. Additionally, users can click and drag to select any region to display calculation of the area of each of the different land surfaces in m^2 and acres. URL: 

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