Canadian Forest Service Publications

Speckle reduction for the forest mapping analysis of multi-temporal Radarsat-1 images. 2012. Maghsoudi, Y.; Collins, M.J.; Leckie, D.G. International Journal of Remote Sensing 33(5): 1349-1359.

Year: 2012

Available from: Pacific Forestry Centre

Catalog ID: 33376

Language: English

CFS Availability: Not available through the CFS (click for more information).

Available from the Journal's Web site.
DOI: 10.1080/01431161.2011.568530

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As the number of satellite-borne synthetic aperture radar (SAR) systems increases, both the availability and the length of multi-temporal (MT) sequences of SAR images have also increased. Previous research on MT SAR sequences suggests that they increase the classification accuracy for all applications over single date images. Yet the presence of speckle noise remains a problem and all images in the sequence must be speckle filtered before acceptable classification accuracy can be attained. Several speckle filters designed specifically for MT sequences have been reported in the literature. Filtering in the spatial domain, as is usually done, reduces the effective spatial resolution of the filtered image. MT speckle filters operate in both the spatial and temporal dimensions, thus the reduction in resolution is not likely to be as severe (although a comparison between MT and spatial filters has not been reported). While this advantage may be useful when extracting spatial features from the image sequence, it is not quite as apparent for classification applications. This research explores the relative performance of spatial and MT speckle filtering for a particular classification application: mapping boreal forest types. We report filter performance using the radiometric resolution as measured by the equivalent number of looks (NL), and classification performance as measured by the classification accuracy. We chose representative spatial and MT filters and found that spatial speckle filters offer the advantage of higher radiometric resolution and higher classification accuracy with lower algorithm complexity. Thus, we confirm that MT filtering offers no advantage for classification applications; spatial speckle filters yield higher overall performance.

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