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A technique for the identification and analysis of icebergs in synthetic aperture radar images of Antarctica

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This paper describes an image analysis technique developed to identify icebergs depicted in synthetic aperture radar images of Antarctica and to determine the outlines of these icebergs. The technique uses a pixel bonding process to delineate the edges of the icebergs. It then separates them from the background water and sea ice by an edge-guided image segmentation process. Characteristics such as centroid position and iceberg area were calculated for each iceberg segment and placed in a file for input to appropriate statistical data analysis software. The technique has been tested on three ERS-1 SAR sub-images in which it succeeded in identifying virtually all segments containing icebergs of size six pixels or larger. The images were first passed through an averaging filter to reduce speckle. This process produced a pixel size of 100m x 100m. As implemented, the technique overestimates iceberg areas by about 20% on average and the detection rate falls off rapidly for icebergs less than six pixels in size. Performance in these areas is expected to improve when additional stages, based on a more detailed analysis of pixel intensity, are implemented.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: October 15, 1999

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