Effect of Image-Processing Routines on Geographic Object-Based Image Analysis for Mapping Glacier Surface Facies from Svalbard and the Himalayas

Shridhar D. Jawak, Sagar F. Wankhede, Alvarinho J. Luis, Keshava Balakrishna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Advancements in remote sensing have led to the development of Geographic Object-Based Image Analysis (GEOBIA). This method of information extraction focuses on segregating correlated pixels into groups for easier classification. This is of excellent use in analyzing very-high-resolution (VHR) data. The application of GEOBIA for glacier surface mapping, however, necessitates multiple scales of segmentation and input of supportive ancillary data. The mapping of glacier surface facies presents a unique problem to GEOBIA on account of its separable but closely matching spectral characteristics and often disheveled surface. Debris cover can induce challenges and requires additions of slope, temperature, and short-wave infrared data as supplements to enable efficient mapping. Moreover, as the influence of atmospheric corrections and image sharpening can derive variations in the apparent surface reflectance, a robust analysis of the effects of these processing routines in a GEOBIA environment is lacking. The current study aims to investigate the impact of three atmospheric corrections, Dark Object Subtraction (DOS), Quick Atmospheric Correction (QUAC), and Fast Line-of-Sight Atmospheric Analysis of Hypercubes (FLAASH), and two pansharpening methods, viz., Gram–Schmidt (GS) and Hyperspherical Color Sharpening (HCS), on the classification of surface facies using GEOBIA. This analysis is performed on VHR WorldView-2 imagery of selected glaciers in Ny-Ålesund, Svalbard, and Chandra–Bhaga basin, Himalaya. The image subsets are segmented using multiresolution segmentation with constant parameters. Three rule sets are defined: rule set 1 utilizes only spectral information, rule set 2 contains only spatial and contextual features, and rule set 3 combines both spatial and spectral attributes. Rule set 3 performs the best across all processing schemes with the highest overall accuracy, followed by rule set 1 and lastly rule set 2. This trend is observed for every image subset. Among the atmospheric corrections, DOS displays consistent performance and is the most reliable, followed by QUAC and FLAASH. Pansharpening improved overall accuracy and GS performed better than HCS. The study reports robust segmentation parameters that may be transferable to other VHR-based glacier surface facies mapping applications. The rule sets are adjusted across the processing schemes to adjust to the change in spectral characteristics introduced by the varying routines. The results indicate that GEOBIA for glacier surface facies mapping may be less prone to the differences in spectral signatures introduced by different atmospheric corrections but may respond well to increasing spatial resolution. The study highlighted the role of spatial attributes for mapping fine features, and in combination with appropriate spectral features may enhance thematic classification.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4403
JournalRemote Sensing
Issue number17
Publication statusPublished - 09-2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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