The Use of Remote Sensing and GIS for Land Use and Land Cover Mapping in Eswatini: A Review

Sabelo Petros Simelane, Christel Dorothee Hansen, Cilence Munghemezulu


Remote sensing and GIS are often used to assess spatiotemporal variations for land use/land cover (LULC) monitoring and classification. While LULC monitoring and classification has been undertaken in Eswatini, little attention has been given to ascertaining covered thematic areas, methods of image classification, and approaches and techniques for improving classification accuracy. This paper summarises and synthesizes the progress made in the Kingdom of Eswatini regarding the application of remote sensing and GIS in LULC monitoring and classification. Eight thematic areas (water resources mapping; land degradation; forestry; urban expansion; crop production; wildfire detection; disease surveillance; general mapping) dominate evaluated LULC studies, employing three LULC classification methods (classic; manual; advanced). While some studies include strengths and weaknesses of LULC classification techniques applied, others do not. This review shows that only two advanced classifiers (random forest; object-based) were identified from the reviewed articles. In addition, reviewed studies applied only two approaches (use of multi temporal data; fine spatial resolution data) and three techniques (use of ancillary data; post-classification procedure; the use of multisource data) for improving classification accuracy. Furthermore, the review finds that limited LULC investigations have been covered in Eswatini with a specific focus on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As such, this review recommends the 1) adaptation of strengths and weaknesses for any image classification technique employed in future publication, 2) the application of advanced image classifiers, 3) the use of more varied approaches and techniques for improving classification accuracy and area estimate, 4) inclusion of standard errors or confidence intervals for error-adjusted area estimates as part of accuracy assessment reporting, and 5) the application of Earth Observation (EO) data in the production of information for the support of the SDGs.

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