Classification of hyperspectral images always suffers from high dimensionality and very limited labeled samples. Recently, the spectral-spatial classification has attracted considerable attention and can achieve higher classification accuracy and smoother classification maps. In this paper, a novel spectral-spatial classification method for hyperspectral images by using kernel methods is investigated. For a given hyperspectral image, the principle component analysis (PCA) transform is first performed. Then, the first principle component of the input image is segmented into non-overlapping homogeneous regions by using the entropy rate superpixel (ERS) algorithm. Next, the local spectral histogram model is applied to each homogeneous region to obtain the corresponding texture features. Because this step is performed within each homogenous region, instead of within a fixed-size image window, the obtained local texture features in the image are more accurate, which can effectively benefit the improvement of classification accuracy. In the following step, a contextual spectral-texture kernel is constructed by combining spectral information in the image and the extracted texture information using the linearity property of the kernel methods. Finally, the classification map is achieved by the support vector machines (SVM) classifier using the proposed spectral-texture kernel. Experiments on two benchmark airborne hyperspectral datasets demonstrate that our method can effectively improve classification accuracies, even though only a very limited training sample is available. Specifically, our method can achieve from 8.26% to 15.1% higher in terms of overall accuracy than the traditional SVM classifier. The performance of our method was further compared to several state-of-the-art classification methods of hyperspectral images using objective quantitative measures and a visual qualitative evaluation.
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