Robust fusion algorithms for unsupervised change detection between multi-band optical images - A comprehensive case study

by   Vinicius Ferraris, et al.

Unsupervised change detection techniques are generally constrained to two multi-band optical images acquired at different times through sensors sharing the same spatial and spectral resolution. This scenario is suitable for a straight comparison of homologous pixels such as pixel-wise differencing. However, in some specific cases such as emergency situations, the only available images may be those acquired through different kinds of sensors with different resolutions. Recently some change detection techniques dealing with images with different spatial and spectral resolutions, have been proposed. Nevertheless, they are focused on a specific scenario where one image has a high spatial and low spectral resolution while the other has a low spatial and high spectral resolution. This paper addresses the problem of detecting changes between any two multi-band optical images disregarding their spatial and spectral resolution disparities. We propose a method that effectively uses the available information by modeling the two observed images as spatially and spectrally degraded versions of two (unobserved) latent images characterized by the same high spatial and high spectral resolutions. Covering the same scene, the latent images are expected to be globally similar except for possible changes in spatially sparse locations. Thus, the change detection task is envisioned through a robust fusion task which enforces the differences between the estimated latent images to be spatially sparse. We show that this robust fusion can be formulated as an inverse problem which is iteratively solved using an alternate minimization strategy. The proposed framework is implemented for an exhaustive list of applicative scenarios and applied to real multi-band optical images. A comparison with state-of-the-art change detection methods evidences the accuracy of the proposed robust fusion-based strategy.


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