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Stacked auto-encoder for classification of polarimetric SAR images based on scattering energy

Shang, Ronghua, Liu, Yongkun, Wang, Jiaming, Jiao, Licheng, Stolkin, Rustam
International journal of remote sensing 2019 v.40 no.13 pp. 5094-5120
algorithms, energy, polarimetry, remote sensing, spatial data, synthetic aperture radar
This paper proposes a new algorithm, for polarimetric synthetic aperture radar (PolSAR) classification, based on a stacked auto-encoder and scattering energy. Previous approaches to PolSAR classification predominantly consider only the single pixel of distribution of the polarimetric data and scattering characteristics, and ignore other kinds of image features like the relationship of the local pixels. Besides, because of the complexities of PolSAR data, it is difficult to compute the derivatives that are needed for back-propagation in deep-learning classifiers. To overcome these difficulties, we propose a new approach that combines the scattering power and stacks sparse auto-encoder (Scattering SSAE) for PolSAR classification. Firstly, orientation compensation is used to compensate the polarization orientation angle, reducing the impact of polarimetric angle noise. Secondly, Freeman-Durden decomposition is adopted to extract three basic scattering powers: surface, double bounce and volume. Each PolSAR image pixel is transformed into these scattering powers, yielding a new kind of feature from the PolSAR data. Finally, using the three kinds of scattering power as inputs, we combine local spatial information using a patch-based approach, and use a deep learning architecture to achieve classification. We compare our method against several other state-of-the-art methods using ground-truthed test-data, and show that the Scattering SSAE method achieves higher accuracy than other methods on most categories.