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Utilisation of contour criteria in micro-segmentation of SAR images

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Abstract:

The segmentation of SAR (Synthetic Aperture Radar) images is greatly complicated by the presence of coherent speckle. To carry out this process a hierarchical segmentation algorithm based on stepwise optimization is used. It starts with each individual pixel as a segment and then sequentially merges the segment pair that minimizes the criterion. In a hypothesis testing approach, we show how the stepwise merging criterion is derived from the probability model of image regions. The Ward criterion is derived from the Gaussian additive noise model. A new criterion is derived from the multiplicative speckle noise model of SAR images. The first merging steps produce micro-regions. With standard merging criteria, the high noise level of SAR images results in the production of micro-regions that have unreliable mean and variance values and irregular shapes. If the micro-segments are not correctly delimited then the following steps will merge segments from different fields. In examining the evolution of the initial segments, we see that the merging should take into account spatial aspects. In particular, the segment contours should have good shapes. We present three measures based on contour shapes, using the perimeter, the area and the boundary length of segments. These measures are combined with the SAR criterion in order to guide correctly the segment merging process. The new criterion produces good micro-segmentation of SAR images. The criterion is also used in the following merges to produce larger segments. This is illustrated by synthetic and real image results.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01431160310001647714

Affiliations: Computer Science Department, Pouliot Building Laval University Quebec City, Quebec G1K 7P4 Canada, Email: jean-marie.beaulieu@ift.ulaval.ca

Publication date: September 1, 2004

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