ISPRS Annals of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume IV-2/W4
14 Sep 2017
 | 14 Sep 2017


C.-S. Tao, S.-W. Chen, Y.-Z. Li, and S.-P. Xiao

Keywords: Polarimetric Synthetic Aperture Radar (PolSAR), Polarimetric Feature Mining, Rotation Domain, Support Vector Machine (SVM), Land Cover Classification

Abstract. Land cover classification is an important application for polarimetric synthetic aperture radar (PolSAR) data utilization. Rollinvariant polarimetric features such as H / Ani / α / Span are commonly adopted in PolSAR land cover classification. However, target orientation diversity effect makes PolSAR images understanding and interpretation difficult. Only using the roll-invariant polarimetric features may introduce ambiguity in the interpretation of targets’ scattering mechanisms and limit the followed classification accuracy. To address this problem, this work firstly focuses on hidden polarimetric feature mining in the rotation domain along the radar line of sight using the recently reported uniform polarimetric matrix rotation theory and the visualization and characterization tool of polarimetric coherence pattern. The former rotates the acquired polarimetric matrix along the radar line of sight and fully describes the rotation characteristics of each entry of the matrix. Sets of new polarimetric features are derived to describe the hidden scattering information of the target in the rotation domain. The latter extends the traditional polarimetric coherence at a given rotation angle to the rotation domain for complete interpretation. A visualization and characterization tool is established to derive new polarimetric features for hidden information exploration. Then, a classification scheme is developed combing both the selected new hidden polarimetric features in rotation domain and the commonly used roll-invariant polarimetric features with a support vector machine (SVM) classifier. Comparison experiments based on AIRSAR and multi-temporal UAVSAR data demonstrate that compared with the conventional classification scheme which only uses the roll-invariant polarimetric features, the proposed classification scheme achieves both higher classification accuracy and better robustness. For AIRSAR data, the overall classification accuracy with the proposed classification scheme is 94.91 %, while that with the conventional classification scheme is 93.70 %. Moreover, for multi-temporal UAVSAR data, the averaged overall classification accuracy with the proposed classification scheme is up to 97.08 %, which is much higher than the 87.79 % from the conventional classification scheme. Furthermore, for multitemporal PolSAR data, the proposed classification scheme can achieve better robustness. The comparison studies also clearly demonstrate that mining and utilization of hidden polarimetric features and information in the rotation domain can gain the added benefits for PolSAR land cover classification and provide a new vision for PolSAR image interpretation and application.