Preprints
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-115
https://doi.org/10.5194/tc-2020-115
28 Jul 2020
 | 28 Jul 2020
Status: this preprint was under review for the journal TC. A final paper is not foreseen.

Rock and snow differentiation from colour (RGB) images

Alex Burton-Johnson and Nina Sofia Wyniawskyj

Abstract. We present a new method for differentiating snow and rock in colour imagery for application (including by remote sensing non-specialists) to multidisciplinary geospatial analyses in the Polar Regions (e.g. glaciology, geology, and biology). Existing methods for differentiating rock from snow and ice for land cover analysis in the Polar Regions rely on infrared or near-infrared imagery (e.g. the Normalised Difference Snow Index, NDSI). However, colour images are more abundant and higher resolution. To enable application of this resource, we present and review supervised and unsupervised methods for differentiating rock and snow from colour images. Whilst the unsupervised methods (fuzzy membership and a normalised difference index) are unable to accurately differentiate snow and rock from colour images, supervised classification (Maximum Likelihood Classification (MLC) and a new approach, Polynomial Thresholding (PT)) do achieve high classification accuracies (95 ± 2 % for PT and 94 ± 3 % for MLC, compared with manual delineation). The greater user control of PT achieves better accuracies than MLC in shaded areas (a challenge in high latitudes) and less extensive outcrops. We present the workflow for the new PT method, and provide a calibration tool for its implementation. This approach improves the possible resolution of Polar land cover analysis, and the increases the volume of data that can be utilised.

This preprint has been withdrawn.

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Alex Burton-Johnson and Nina Sofia Wyniawskyj

Interactive discussion

Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Interactive discussion

Status: closed
Status: closed
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
Printer-friendly Version - Printer-friendly version Supplement - Supplement
Alex Burton-Johnson and Nina Sofia Wyniawskyj
Alex Burton-Johnson and Nina Sofia Wyniawskyj

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Latest update: 23 May 2024
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Short summary
Accurate maps of Polar Regions are vital for navigation and scientific research. However, automated mapping of snow and rock requires low resolution infrared imagery. This is the first paper to evaluate mapping rocks and snow from colour imagery, and presents a new methodology. The techniques are evaluated, and shown to have high accuracy. By allowing usage of high resolution and abundant colour imagery we hope to improve Polar mapping and geospatial research in diverse disciplines.