ISPRS Annals of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume II-8
27 Nov 2014
 | 27 Nov 2014

A Novel Graph Based Fuzzy Clustering Technique For Unsupervised Classification Of Remote Sensing Images

B. Banerjee and B. Krishna Moohan

Keywords: Clustering, Image segmentation, Maximum likelihood classifier, Expectation maximization

Abstract. This paper addresses the problem of unsupervised land-cover classification of multi-spectral remotely sensed images in the context of self-learning by exploring different graph based clustering techniques hierarchically. The only assumption used here is that the number of land-cover classes is known a priori. Object based image analysis paradigm which processes a given image at different levels, has emerged as a popular alternative to the pixel based approaches for remote sensing image segmentation considering the high spatial resolution of the images. A graph based fuzzy clustering technique is proposed here to obtain a better merging of an initially oversegmented image in the spectral domain compared to conventional clustering techniques. Instead of using Euclidean distance measure, the cumulative graph edge weight is used to find the distance between a pair of points to better cope with the topology of the feature space. In order to handle uncertainty in assigning class labels to pixels, which is not always a crisp allocation for remote sensing data, fuzzy set theoretic technique is incorporated to the graph based clustering. Minimum Spanning Tree (MST) based clustering technique is used to over-segment the image at the first level. Furthermore, considering that the spectral signature of different land-cover classes may overlap significantly, a self-learning based Maximum Likelihood (ML) classifier coupled with the Expectation Maximization (EM) based iterative unsupervised parameter retraining scheme is used to generate the final land-cover classification map. Results on two medium resolution images establish the superior performance of the proposed technique in comparison to the traditional fuzzy c-means clustering technique.