Current image quality approaches are designed to assess the utility of single band images by trained image analysts. While analysts today are certainly involved in the exploitation of spectral imagery, automated tools are generally used as aids in the analysis and offer hope in the future of significantly reducing the analysis timeline and analyst work load. Thus, there is a recognized need for spectral image quality metrics that include the effects of automated algorithms. Previously, we have reported on candidate approaches for spectral quality metrics in the context of unresolved object detection. We have continued these efforts through the use of empirical trade studies in the context of ground cover terrain classification. HYDICE airborne hyperspectral imagery have been analyzed for the effects on scene classification accuracy of spatial resolution, signal-to-noise ratio, and number of spectral channels. Various classification algorithms including Gaussian maximum likelihood, spectral angle mapper, and Euclidean minimum distance have been considered. Performance metrics included classification accuracy, confusion matrices, and the Kappa coefficient. An extension of the previously developed Spectral Quality Equation (SQE) has been developed for the terrain classification application. As expected, the accuracy of terrain classification shows only modest sensitivity to the parameters considered, except at the extreme cases of high noise, few bands, and small ground resolution. However, these results are useful in continuing to develop the quantitative relationships necessary for characterizing the quality of spectral imagery in various applications.

Date of creation, presentation, or exhibit



Copyright 2004 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic reproduction and distribution, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper are prohibited.

This work was performed while Dr. Kerekes was at MIT Lincoln Laboratory. ISSN: 0277-786X

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Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Department, Program, or Center

Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science (COS)


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