Unsupervised Classification of PolSAR Data Using a Scattering Similarity Measure Derived from a Geodesic Distance

by   Debanshu Ratha, et al.

In this letter, we propose a novel technique for obtaining scattering components from Polarimetric Synthetic Aperture Radar (PolSAR) data using the geodesic distance on the unit sphere. This geodesic distance is obtained between an elementary target and the observed Kennaugh matrix, and it is further utilized to compute a similarity measure between scattering mechanisms. The normalized similarity measure for each elementary target is then modulated with the total scattering power (Span). This measure is used to categorize pixels into three categories i.e. odd-bounce, double-bounce and volume, depending on which of the above scattering mechanisms dominate. Then the maximum likelihood classifier of [J.-S. Lee, M. R. Grunes, E. Pottier, and L. Ferro-Famil, Unsupervised terrain classification preserving polarimetric scattering characteristics, IEEE Trans. Geos. Rem. Sens., vol. 42, no. 4, pp. 722731, April 2004.] based on the complex Wishart distribution is iteratively used for each category. Dominant scattering mechanisms are thus preserved in this classification scheme. We show results for L-band AIRSAR and ALOS-2 datasets acquired over San Francisco and Mumbai, respectively. The scattering mechanisms are better preserved using the proposed methodology than the unsupervised classification results using the Freeman-Durden scattering powers on an orientation angle (OA) corrected PolSAR image. Furthermore, (1) the scattering similarity is a completely non-negative quantity unlike the negative powers that might occur in double- bounce and odd-bounce scattering component under Freeman Durden decomposition (FDD), and (2) the methodology can be extended to more canonical targets as well as for bistatic scattering.


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