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A feature extraction software tool for agricultural object-based image analysis

Ruiz, L.A., Recio, J.A., Fernández-Sarría, A., Hermosilla, T.
Computers and electronics in agriculture 2011 v.76 no.2 pp. 284-296
computer software, data collection, databases, image analysis, land cover, land use
A software application for automatic descriptive feature extraction from image-objects, FETEX 2.0, is presented and described in this paper. The input data include a multispectral high resolution digital image and a vector file in shapefile format containing the polygons or objects, usually extracted from a geospatial database. The design of the available descriptive features or attributes has been mainly focused on the description of agricultural parcels, providing a variety of information: spectral information from the different image bands; textural descriptors of the distribution of the intensity values based on the grey level co-occurrence matrix, the wavelet transform and a factor of edgeness; structural features describing the spatial arrangement of the elements inside the objects, based on the semivariogram curve and the Hough transform; and several descriptors of the object shape. The output file is a table that can be produced in four alternative formats, containing a vector of features for every object processed. This table of numeric values describing the objects from different points of view can be externally used as input data for any classification software. Additionally, several types of graphs and images describing the feature extraction procedure are produced, useful for interpretation and understanding the process. A test of the processing times is included, as well as an application of the program in a real parcel-based classification problem, providing some results and analyzing the applicability, the future improvement of the methodologies, and the use of additional types of data sets. This software is intended to be a dynamic tool, integrating further data and feature extraction algorithms for the progressive improvement of land use/land cover database classification and agricultural database updating processes.