SAR-based change detection using hypothesis testing and Markov random field modelling
- German Aerospace Center (DLR), Earth Observation Center, German Remote Sensing Data Center, Oberpfaffenhofen, 82234 Weßling, Germany
Keywords: Three-Class Change Detection, Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), Post-Classification, Disaster Monitoring, Graph-Cut, Markov Random Field (MRF)
Abstract. The objective of this study is to automatically detect changed areas caused by natural disasters from bi-temporal co-registered and calibrated TerraSAR-X data. The technique in this paper consists of two steps: Firstly, an automatic coarse detection step is applied based on a statistical hypothesis test for initializing the classification. The original analytical formula as proposed in the constant false alarm rate (CFAR) edge detector is reviewed and rewritten in a compact form of the incomplete beta function, which is a builtin routine in commercial scientific software such as MATLAB and IDL. Secondly, a post-classification step is introduced to optimize the noisy classification result in the previous step. Generally, an optimization problem can be formulated as a Markov random field (MRF) on which the quality of a classification is measured by an energy function. The optimal classification based on the MRF is related to the lowest energy value. Previous studies provide methods for the optimization problem using MRFs, such as the iterated conditional modes (ICM) algorithm. Recently, a novel algorithm was presented based on graph-cut theory. This method transforms a MRF to an equivalent graph and solves the optimization problem by a max-flow/min-cut algorithm on the graph. In this study this graph-cut algorithm is applied iteratively to improve the coarse classification. At each iteration the parameters of the energy function for the current classification are set by the logarithmic probability density function (PDF). The relevant parameters are estimated by the method of logarithmic cumulants (MoLC). Experiments are performed using two flood events in Germany and Australia in 2011 and a forest fire on La Palma in 2009 using pre- and post-event TerraSAR-X data. The results show convincing coarse classifications and considerable improvement by the graph-cut post-classification step.