Towards a framework for agent-based image analysis of remote-sensing data

Int J Image Data Fusion. 2015 Apr 3;6(2):115-137. doi: 10.1080/19479832.2015.1015459. Epub 2015 Mar 30.


Object-based image analysis (OBIA) as a paradigm for analysing remotely sensed image data has in many cases led to spatially and thematically improved classification results in comparison to pixel-based approaches. Nevertheless, robust and transferable object-based solutions for automated image analysis capable of analysing sets of images or even large image archives without any human interaction are still rare. A major reason for this lack of robustness and transferability is the high complexity of image contents: Especially in very high resolution (VHR) remote-sensing data with varying imaging conditions or sensor characteristics, the variability of the objects' properties in these varying images is hardly predictable. The work described in this article builds on so-called rule sets. While earlier work has demonstrated that OBIA rule sets bear a high potential of transferability, they need to be adapted manually, or classification results need to be adjusted manually in a post-processing step. In order to automate these adaptation and adjustment procedures, we investigate the coupling, extension and integration of OBIA with the agent-based paradigm, which is exhaustively investigated in software engineering. The aims of such integration are (a) autonomously adapting rule sets and (b) image objects that can adopt and adjust themselves according to different imaging conditions and sensor characteristics. This article focuses on self-adapting image objects and therefore introduces a framework for agent-based image analysis (ABIA).

Keywords: agent-based image analysis; agent-based systems; automation of image analysis; autonomous systems; object-based image analysis; remote sensing.

Grant support

This work was supported by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) [grant number FWF P25449].