THE EFFECT OF SPECTRAL MIXTURES ON WEED SPECIES CLASSIFICATION
Keywords: Spectral mixtures, Spectral classification, Site-specific weed management (SSWM)
Abstract. Site-specific weed management (SSWM) is a precise and resource-efficient approach that can result in more productive and sustainable agricultural practices. SSWM requires weed maps, in which the vegetation-related pixels are segmented from the soil and other substances and then classified into crops and different weed species. Such classification with a high spatial resolution is significant for SSWM since preventing economic losses due to weeds requires making management decisions at meter scales. In this regard, hyperspectral sensors can capture leaf anatomy and biochemistry variations, suggesting many advantages for weed classification. However, the typical tradeoff between spectral and spatial resolution poses a challenge for applying hyperspectral imaging in large scales and scenarios of high densities and tiny seedlings at early growth due to mixed pixels. Mixture analysis methods were previously demonstrated to offer opportunities for dealing with mixed pixels in vegetation ecology and agriculture. Nonetheless, they were not widely utilized for weed classification. This study aims to reveal the impact of the spectral mixture on classification results using supervised classification, spectral unmixing, and spatial analysis. We attempted to characterize how the spectral mixture of different weed species and soil at different growth stages affects classification results. Our results suggest that spectral mixtures are probably a significant factor driving misclassifications when classifying weed species. Their effect can be characterized by spatial analysis and fractions obtained by spectral unmixing. We assume that the subpixel information provided by the fraction maps may add information about the spectral mixture that can assist in interpreting misclassification pixels alongside the widely used confusion matrix. This contribution is highly relevant at coarser spatial resolutions.