Retinex Image Processing--Publications--SPIE 3716, Orlando, Florida, April 1999. Conference

Retinex Preprocessing for Improved Multi-spectral Image Classification

Beverly Thompson, Zia-ur Rahman, Stephen Park


The goal of multi-image classification is to identify and label ``similar regions'' within a scene. The ability to correctly classify a remotely sensed multi-image of a scene is affected by the ability of the classification process to adequately compensate for the effects of atmospheric variations and sensor anomalies. Better classification may be obtained if the multi-image is preprocessed before classification, so as to reduce the adverse effects of image formation. In this paper, we discuss the overall impact on multi-spectral image classification when the retinex image enhancement algorithm is used to preprocess multi-spectral images. The retinex is a multi-purpose image enhancement algorithm that performs dynamic range compression, reduces the dependence on lighting conditions, and generally enhances apparent spatial resolution. The retinex has been successfully applied to the enhancement of many different types of grayscale and color images. We show in this paper that retinex preprocessing improves the spatial structure of multi-spectral images and thus provides better within-class variations than would otherwise be obtained without the preprocessing. For a series of multi-spectral images obtained with diffuse and direct lighting, we show that without retinex preprocessing the class spectral signatures vary substantially with the lighting conditions. Whereas multi-dimensional clustering without preprocessing produced one-class homogeneous regions, the classification on the preprocessed images produced multi-class non-homogeneous regions. This lack of homogeneity is explained by the interaction between different agronomic treatments applied to the regions: the preprocessed images are closer to ground truth. The principle advantage that the retinex offers is that for different lighting conditions classifications derived from the retinex preprocessed images look remarkably ``similar'', and thus more consistent, whereas classifications derived from the original images, without preprocessing, are much less similar.

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