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A Markov random field approach to spatio-temporal contextual image classification

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2 Author(s)
Melgani, F. ; Dept. of Inf. & Commun. Technol., Trento Univ., Italy ; Serpico, S.B.

Markov random fields (MRFs) provide a useful and theoretically well-established tool for integrating temporal contextual information into the classification process. In particular, when dealing with a sequence of temporal images, the usual MRF-based approach consists in adopting a "cascade" scheme, i.e., in propagating the temporal information from the current image to the next one of the sequence. The simplicity of the cascade scheme makes it attractive; on the other hand, it does not fully exploit the temporal information available in a sequence of temporal images. In this paper, a "mutual" MRF approach is proposed that aims at improving both the accuracy and the reliability of the classification process by means of a better exploitation of the temporal information. It involves carrying out a bidirectional exchange of the temporal information between the defined single-time MRF models of consecutive images. A difficult issue related to MRFs is the determination of the MRF model parameters that weight the energy terms related to the available information sources. To solve this problem, we propose a simple and fast method based on the concept of "minimum perturbation" and implemented with the pseudoinverse technique for the minimization of the sum of squared errors. Experimental results on a multitemporal dataset made up of two multisensor (Landsat Thematic Mapper and European Remote Sensing 1 synthetic aperture radar) images are reported. The results obtained by the proposed "mutual" approach show a clear improvement in terms of classification accuracy over those yielded by a reference MRF-based classifier. The presented method to automatically estimate the MRF parameters yielded significant results that make it an attractive alternative to the usual trial-and-error search procedure.

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Geoscience and Remote Sensing, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:41 ,  Issue: 11 )