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Remote Sens. 2013, 5(12), 6899-6920; doi:10.3390/rs5126899

Ship Discrimination Using Polarimetric SAR Data and Coherent Time-Frequency Analysis

1
College of Electronic Science and Engineering, National University of Defense Technology, Changsha 410073, China
2
Institute of Electronics and Telecommunications of Rennes, University of Rennes 1, F-35042 Rennes, France
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 October 2013 / Revised: 5 December 2013 / Accepted: 9 December 2013 / Published: 11 December 2013
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Abstract

This paper presents a new approach for the discrimination of ship responses using polarimetric SAR (PolSAR) data. The PolSAR multidimensional information is analyzed using a linear Time-Frequency (TF) decomposition approach, which permits to describe the polarimetric behavior of a ship and its background area for different azimuthal angles of observation and frequencies of illumination. This paper proposes to discriminate ships from their background by using characteristics of their polarimetric TF responses, which may be associated with the intrinsic nature of the observed natural or artificial scattering structures. A statistical descriptor related to polarimetric coherence of the signal in the TF domain is proposed for detecting ships in different complex backgrounds, including SAR azimuth ambiguities, artifacts, and small natural islands, which may induce numerous false alarms. Choices of the TF analysis direction, i.e., along separate azimuth or range axis, or simultaneously in both directions, are investigated and evaluated. TF decomposition modes including range direction perform better in terms of discriminating ships from range focusing artifacts. In comparison with original full-resolution polarimetric indicators, the proposed TF polarimetric coherence descriptor is shown to qualitatively enhance the ship/background contrast and improve discrimination capabilities. Using polarimetric RADARSAT-2 data acquired over complex scenes, experimental results demonstrate the efficiency of this approach in terms of ship location retrieval and response characterization.
Keywords: ship discrimination; coherent time-frequency analysis; polarimetric SAR; azimuth ambiguities; range artifacts; natural and man-made media; multivariate statistics ship discrimination; coherent time-frequency analysis; polarimetric SAR; azimuth ambiguities; range artifacts; natural and man-made media; multivariate statistics
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Hu, C.; Ferro-Famil, L.; Kuang, G. Ship Discrimination Using Polarimetric SAR Data and Coherent Time-Frequency Analysis. Remote Sens. 2013, 5, 6899-6920.

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