International Development, Community and Environment (IDCE)

Date of Award


Degree Type

Research Paper

Degree Name

Master of Science in GIS for Development and Environment (GISDE)


International Development, Community and Environment

Chief Instructor

Florencia Sangermano


This study evaluates Sentinel-1 and Sentinel-2 remotely sensed images for tropical land cover classification. The dual polarized Sentinel-1 VV and VH backscatter images and four 10-meter multispectral bands of Sentinel-2 were used to create six land cover classification images across two study areas along the border of the Bolivian Pando Department and the Brazilian state of Acre. Results indicate that Sentinel-2 multispectral bands possess a higher overall performance in delineating land cover types than the Sentinel-1 backscatter bands. Sentinel-1 backscatter bands delineated land cover types based on their surficial properties but did not facilitate the separation of similarly textured classes. The combination of Sentinel-1 and -2 resulted in higher accuracy for delineating land cover through increasing the accuracy in delineating the classes of secondary vegetation from exposed soil. While Sentinel-2 demonstrated the capability to consistently capture land cover in both case studies, there is potential for single date Sentinel-1 backscatter image to act as ancillary information in Sentinel-2 scenes affected by clouds or for increasing separability across classes of mixed multispectral qualities but distinct surficial roughness, such as bare ground versus sparsely vegetation areas.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.