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Advancing Microsoft Excel’s Potential for Teaching Digital Image Processing and Analysis

Larbi, Peter A.
Applied engineering in agriculture 2018 v.34 no.2 pp. 263-276
agricultural engineering, computer software, computers, digital images, image analysis, information processing, user interface
Microsoft Excel is not considered a typical software for digital image processing and analysis. However, based on its large data handling and graphing capabilities, as well as its widespread usage, it presents a good opportunity for use as a tool for teaching image data processing or use in demonstrations requiring little training. It also lends itself well as a potentially useful research tool that can benefit a wide range of users including those with little or no computer programming knowledge. This article demonstrates a new method which can be adopted for teaching concepts of image processing and analysis, consisting of systematic procedures for implementing typical operations in Excel. Categories of operations demonstrated using this method include image preprocessing, image enhancement, image classification, analysis of change over time, and image data fusion. Examples of outputs resulting from using this new method are discussed in the article. The success of this proposed method is hinged on the availability of the required image data, based on which a simple graphical user interface (GUI) application was developed in MATLAB. That application, RGBExcel or the later RGB2X, extracts RGB image data from image files of any format and file size, and exports to Excel for processing. Deployed as standalone applications, both versions can be installed on a 64-bit windows computer and run without MATLAB.