Using geometrical, textural, and contextual information of land parcels for classification of detailed urban land use


Detailed urban land use data are important to government officials, researchers, and businesspeople for a variety of purposes. This article presents an approach to classifying detailed urban land use based on geometrical, textural, and contextual information of land parcels. An area of 6 by 14 km in Austin, Texas, with land parcel boundaries delineated by the Travis Central Appraisal District of Travis County, Texas, is tested for the approach. We derive fifty parcel attributes from relevant geographic information system (GIS) and remote sensing data and use them to discriminate among nine urban land uses: single family, multifamily, commercial, office, industrial, civic, open space, transportation, and undeveloped. Half of the 33,025 parcels in the study area are used as training data for land use classification and the other half are used as testing data for accuracy assessment. The best result with a decision tree classification algorithm has an overall accuracy of 96 percent and a kappa coefficient of 0.78, and two naive, baseline models based on the majority rule and the spatial autocorrelation rule have overall accuracy of 89 percent and 79 percent, respectively. The algorithm is relatively good at classifying single-family, multifamily, commercial, open space, and undeveloped land uses and relatively poor at classifying office, industrial, civic, and transportation land uses. The most important attributes for land use classification are the geometrical attributes, particularly those related to building areas. Next are the contextual attributes, particularly those relevant to the spatial relationship between buildings, then the textural attributes, particularly the semivariance texture statistic from 0.61-m resolution images.


Geography, Geology, and Planning

Document Type




Contextual classification, Field-based, Land use classification, Per field, Textural classification

Publication Date


Journal Title

Annals of the Association of American Geographers