To obtain fine and potential features, a highly informative fused image created by merging multiple images is usually required. In our study, a novel fusion algorithm called JSKF-NSCT is proposed for fusing panchromatic (PAN) and hyperspectral (HS) images by combining the joint skewness-kurtosis figure (JSKF) and the non-subsampled contourlet transform (NSCT). The JSKF model is used first to derive the three most sensitive bands from the original HS image according to the product of the skewness and the kurtosis coefficients of each band. Afterwards, an intensity-hue-saturation (IHS) transform is used to obtain the luminance component I
of the produced false-colour image consisting of the above three bands. Then the NSCT method is used to decompose component I
of the false-colour image and the PAN image. The weight-selection rule based on the regional energy is adopted to acquire the low-frequency coefficients and the correlation between the central pixel and its surrounding pixels is used to select the high-frequency coefficients. Finally, the fused image is obtained by applying an IHS inverse transform and an inverse NSCT transform. The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) HS and PAN images under low- and high-vegetation coverage of wheat at the flag leaf stage (Stage I) and the grain filling stage (Stage II) are used as the sample data sources. The fusion results are comparatively validated using spatial (entropy, standard deviation, average gradient and mean) and spectral (normalised difference vegetation, NDVI, and leaf area index, LAI) assessments. Additional comparative studies using anomaly detection and pixel clustering also demonstrate that the proposed method outperforms other methods. They show that the algorithm reported herein can better preserve the original spatial and spectral characteristics of the two types of images to be fused and is more stable than IHS, principal components analysis (PCA), non-negative matrix factorization (NMF) and Gram-Schmidt (GS).
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