Classification of Terrain by Implementing the Correlation Coefficient in the Circular Polarization Basis Using X-Band POLSAR Data

Yoshio YAMAGUCHI  Yukari YAMAMOTO  Hiroyoshi YAMADA  Jian YANG  Wolfgang-Martin BOERNER  

IEICE TRANSACTIONS on Communications   Vol.E91-B   No.1   pp.297-301
Publication Date: 2008/01/01
Online ISSN: 1745-1345
DOI: 10.1093/ietcom/e91-b.1.297
Print ISSN: 0916-8516
Type of Manuscript: PAPER
Category: Sensing
radar polarimetry,  polarimetric synthetic aperture radar (POLSAR),  correlation coefficient,  circular polarization basis,  scattering power,  

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Classification of terrain is one of the most important applications of Polarimetric Synthetic Aperture Radar (POLSAR) image analysis. This paper presents a simple method to classify terrain by the use of the correlation coefficients in the circular polarization basis together with the total power of the scattering matrix in the X-band. The reflection symmetry condition that the co-polarized and the cross-polarized correlations are close to zero for natural distributed scatterers is utilized to extract characteristic parameters of small forests or cluster of trees, and oriented urban building blocks with respect to the direction of the radar illumination. Both of these kinds of scatterers are difficult to identify in high resolution POLSAR images of complex urban areas. The indices employed here are the correlation coefficient, a modified coefficient normalized by the reflection symmetric conditional case, and the total power. It is shown that forest areas and oriented building blocks are easily detected and identified. The terrain classification yielded by these combinations is very accurate as confirmed by photographic ground truth images.