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Automated delineation of coastline from polarimetric SAR imagery

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In this paper we present a new diffusion-based method for the delineation of coastlines from space-borne polarimetric SAR imagery of coastal urban areas. Both polarimetric filtering and speckle reducing anisotropic diffusion (SRAD) are exploited to generate a base image where speckle is reduced and edges are enhanced. The primary edge information is then derived from the base image using the instantaneous coefficient of variation edge detector. Next, the resulting edge image is parsed by a watershed transform, which partitions the image into disjoint segments where the division lines between segments are collocated with detected edges. The over-segmentation problem associated with the watershed transform is solved by a region merging technique that combines neighbouring segments with similar radar brightness. As a result, undesired boundary segments are eliminated and true coastlines are correctly delineated. The proposed algorithm has been applied to a space-borne polarimetric SAR dataset, demonstrating a good visual match between the detected coastline and the manually contoured coastline. The performance of the proposed algorithm is compared with those of two polarimetric SAR classification algorithms and two edge-based shoreline detection methods that are tailored to single polarization SAR images. Experimental results are shown using polarimetric SAR data from Hong Kong.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering University of Virginia 351 McCormick Road Charlottesville VA 22904 USA, Email:

Publication date: September 1, 2004

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