Modeling the spatio-temporal dynamics of land use change with recurrent neural networks

Guodong Du, Liang Yuan, Kong Joo Shin, Shunsuke Managi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study applies recurrent neural networks (RNNs), which are known for its ability to process sequential information, to model the spatio-temporal dynamics of land use change (LUC) and to forecast annual land use maps of the city of Tsukuba, Japan. We develop two categories of RNN models: 1) simple RNN, which is the basic RNN variant, 2) three RNN variants with advanced gated architecture: long short-term memory (LSTM), LSTM with peephole connection (LSTM-peephole), and gated recurrent unit (GRU) models. The four models are developed using spatio-temporal data with high temporal resolution; annual data for the periods 2000 to 2010, 2011 and 2012 to 2016 are used for training, validation and testing, respectively. The predictive performances are evaluated using classification metrics (accuracy and F1 score) and the map comparison metrics (Kappa simulation and fuzzy Kappa simulation). The results show that all RNN models achieve F1 scores higher than 0.55, and Kappa simulations higher than 0.47. Out of the four RNN models, LSTM and LSTM-peephole models significantly outperform the other two RNN models. Furthermore, LSTM-peephole model slightly outperforms the LSTM model. In addition, the results indicate that the RNN models with gated architecture, which have better ability to model longer temporal dependency, significantly outperform the simple RNN model. Moreover, the predictive performance of LSTM-peephole model gradually decreases with the decrease of temporal sequential length of the training set. These results demonstrate the benefit of taking temporal dependency into account to model the LUC process with RNNs.

Original languageEnglish
JournalUnknown Journal
Publication statusPublished - Mar 28 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Modeling the spatio-temporal dynamics of land use change with recurrent neural networks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this