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A Technique for the Identification and Analysis of Icebergs in Synthetic Aperture Radar Images of Antarctica

Williams, R, Rees, G and Young, ND 1999 , 'A Technique for the Identification and Analysis of Icebergs in Synthetic Aperture Radar Images of Antarctica' , International Journal of Remote Sensing, vol. 20, no. 15-16 , pp. 3183-3199 .

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This paper describes an image analysis technique developed to identify icebergs depicted in synthetic aperture radar images of Antarctica and to determine the outlines of these icebergs. The technique uses a pixel bonding process to delineate the edges of the icebergs. It then separates them from the background water and sea ice by an edge-guided image segmentation process. Characteristics such as centroid position and iceberg area are calculated for each iceberg segment and placed in a file for input to appropriate statistical data analysis software. The technique has been tested on three ERS-1 SAR sub-images in which it succeeded in identifying virtually all segments containing icebergs of size 6 pixels or larger. The images were first passed through an averaging filter to reduce speckle. This process produced a pixel size of 100 m x 100 m. As implemented, the technique over-estimates iceberg areas by about 20% on average and the detection rate falls off rapidly for icebergs less than six pixels in size. Performance in these areas is expected to improve when additional stages, based on a more detailed analysis of pixel intensity, are implemented.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Williams, R and Rees, G and Young, ND
Keywords: icebergs, synthetic aperture radar, image analysis, Antarctic images
Journal or Publication Title: International Journal of Remote Sensing
Additional Information:

This is a preprint of an article whose final and definitive form has been published in the INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF REMOTE SENSING (c) 1999; INTERNATIONAL JOURNAL OF REMOTE SENSING is available online at:

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