ISPRS Annals of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences
Publications Copernicus
Articles | Volume X-2-2024
10 Jun 2024
 | 10 Jun 2024

Quantitative Evaluation of Color Enhancement Methods for Underwater Photogrammetry in Very Shallow Water: a Case Study

Alessio Calantropio, Filiberto Chiabrando, Fabio Menna, and Erica Nocerino

Keywords: Underwater photogrammetry, color enhancement, depth maps, color checker, shallow water, 3D metric survey, underwater archaeology, artificial intelligence, deep learning

Abstract. Underwater photogrammetry is often hampered by chromatic aberration, leading to degraded 2D and 3D products. This study investigates the effectiveness of various color enhancement methods in addressing these challenges.
Theoretical considerations indicate that light penetration depth varies inversely with wavelength, causing underwater images to exhibit a blue or green cast with increasing depth. Color enhancement techniques can restore natural colors by compensating for this spectral attenuation. Additionally, scattering, caused by light reflected by particles in the water, can introduce haze into underwater images. Color enhancement can mitigate scatter and improve image clarity. In this contribution, to quantitatively evaluate color enhancement methods, we compare original images with images processed using gray-world assumption methods and physical methods that account for the physical properties of light underwater. Using artificial intelligence (AI) for underwater image color enhancement, a data-driven approach was also employed. These methods were applied to a case study concerning a Roman Navis Lapidaria shipwreck carrying five monumental cipollino marble columns at a depth of 4.5 meters in the Porto Cesareo Marine Protected Area (Italy). These methods were compared quantitatively and qualitatively, and the results are presented and discussed.