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Study on segmentation and interpretation of multi-look polarimetric SAR images

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The segmentation and interpretation of multi-look polarimetric synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images is studied. We first introduce a multi-look polarimetric whitening filter (MPWF) to reduce the speckle in multi-look polarimetric SAR images. Then, by utilizing the wavelet multiresolution approach to extract the texture information in different scales and the Markov random field (MRF) model to characterize the spatial constraints between pixels in each scale level, a multiresolution segmentation algorithm (MSA) to segment the speckle-reduced SAR images is presented. The MSA first segments the image at the lowest resolution level and then proceeds to progressively higher resolutions until individual pixels are well classified. An unsupervised step to estimate both the optimal number of texture classes and their model parameters is also included in the MSA so that the segmentation can be implemented without supervision. Finally, in order to interpret the results of the unsupervised segmentation and to understand the whole polarimetric SAR image, we develop an image interpretation approach which jointly utilizes the scattering mechanism identification and target decomposition approaches. Experimental results with the real-world multi-look polarimetric SAR image demonstrate the effectiveness of the segmentation and interpretation approaches.

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: May 20, 2000

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