Automated Ice-Water Classification using Dual Polarization SAR Imagery
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Mapping ice and open water in ocean bodies is important for numerous purposes including environmental analysis and ship navigation. The Canadian Ice Service (CIS) currently has several expert ice analysts manually generate ice maps on a daily basis. The CIS would like to augment their current process with an automated ice-water discrimination algorithm capable of operating on dual-pol synthetic aperture radar (SAR) images produced by RADARSAT-2. Automated methods can provide mappings in larger volumes, with more consistency, and in finer resolutions that are otherwise impractical to generate. We have developed such an automated ice-water discrimination system called MAGIC. The algorithm first classifies the HV scene using the glocal method, a hierarchical region-based classification method. The glocal method incorporates spatial context information into the classification model using a modified watershed segmentation and a previously developed MRF classification algorithm called IRGS. Second, a pixel-based support vector machine (SVM) using a nonlinear RBF kernel classification is performed exploiting SAR grey-level co-occurrence matrix (GLCM) texture and backscatter features. Finally, the IRGS and SVM classification results are combined using the IRGS approach but with a modified energy function to accommodate the SVM pixel-based information. The combined classifier was tested on 61 ground truthed dual-pol RADARSAT-2 scenes of the Beaufort Sea containing a variety of ice types and water patterns across melt, summer, and freeze-up periods. The average leave-one-out classification accuracy with respect to these ground truths is 95.8% and MAGIC attains an accuracy of 90% or above on 88% of the scenes. The MAGIC system is now under consideration by CIS for operational use.