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Scale-variable region-merging for high resolution remote sensing image segmentation

Su, Tengfei
ISPRS journal of photogrammetry and remote sensing 2019 v.147 pp. 319-334
algorithms, landscapes, remote sensing
In high resolution remote sensing imagery (HRI), the sizes of different geo-objects often vary greatly, posing serious difficulties to their successful segmentation. Although existent segmentation approaches have provided some solutions to this problem, the complexity of HRI may still lead to great challenges for previous methods. In order to further enhance the quality of HRI segmentation, this paper proposes a new segmentation algorithm based on scale-variable region merging. Scale-variable means that the scale parameters (SP) adopted for segmentation are adaptively estimated, so that geo-objects of various sizes can be better segmented out. To implement the proposed technique, 3 steps are designed. The first step produces a coarse-segmentation result with slight degree of under segmentation error. This is achieved by segmenting a half size image with the global optimal SP. Such a SP is determined by using the image of original size. In the second step, structural and spatial contextual information is extracted from the coarse-segmentation, enabling the estimation of variable SPs. In the last step, a region merging process is initiated, and the SPs used to terminate this process are estimated based on the information obtained in the second step. The proposed method was tested by using 3 scenes of HRI with different landscape patterns. Experimental results indicated that our approach produced good segmentation accuracy, outperforming some competitive methods in comparison.