Image segmentation plays a fundamental role in image understanding and region-based applications. This paper presents a superpixel-based segmentation method for Polarimetric SAR (PolSAR) data, in which a two-stage merging strategy is proposed. First, based on the initial superpixel partition, the Wishart-merging stage (WMS) simultaneously merges the regions in homogeneous areas. The edge penalty is combined with the Wishart energy loss to ensure that the superpixels to be merged are from the same land cover. The second stage follows the iterative merging procedure, and applies the doubly flexible KummerU distribution to better characterize the resultant regions from WMS, which are usually located in heterogeneous areas. Moreover, the edge penalty and the proposed homogeneity penalty are adopted in the KummerU-merging stage (KUMS) to further improve the segmentation accuracy. The two-stage merging strategy applies the general statistical model for the superpixels without ambiguity, and more advanced model for the regions with ambiguity. Therefore, the implementing efficiency can be improved based on the WMS, and the accuracy can be increased through the KUMS. Experimental results on two real PolSAR datasets show that the proposed method can effectively improve the computation efficiency and segmentation accuracy compared with the classical merging-based methods.
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