Multi-Sensor Spectral Imaging of Geological Samples: A Data Fusion Approach Using Spatio-Spectral Feature Extraction

Sensors (Basel). 2019 Jun 21;19(12):2787. doi: 10.3390/s19122787.


Rapid, efficient and reproducible drillcore logging is fundamental in mineral exploration. Drillcore mapping has evolved rapidly in the recent decade, especially with the advances in hyperspectral spectral imaging. A wide range of imaging sensors is now available, providing rapidly increasing spectral as well as spatial resolution and coverage. However, the fusion of data acquired with multiple sensors is challenging and usually not conducted operationally. We propose an innovative solution based on the recent developments made in machine learning to integrate such multi-sensor datasets. Image feature extraction using orthogonal total variation component analysis enables a strong reduction in dimensionality and memory size of each input dataset, while maintaining the majority of its spatial and spectral information. This is in particular advantageous for sensors with very high spatial and/or spectral resolution, which are otherwise difficult to jointly process due to their large data memory requirements during classification. The extracted features are not only bound to absorption features but recognize specific and relevant spatial or spectral patterns. We exemplify the workflow with data acquired with five commercially available hyperspectral sensors and a pair of RGB cameras. The robust and efficient spectral-spatial procedure is evaluated on a representative set of geological samples. We validate the process with independent and detailed mineralogical and spectral data. The suggested workflow provides a versatile solution for the integration of multi-source hyperspectral data in a diversity of geological applications. In this study, we show a straight-forward integration of visible/near-infrared (VNIR), short-wave infrared (SWIR) and long-wave infrared (LWIR) data for sensors with highly different spatial and spectral resolution that greatly improves drillcore mapping.

Keywords: data fusion; feature extraction; hyperspectral; mineral exploration; multi-sensor data; orthogonal total variation component analysis (OTVCA); spectral imaging; support vector machine (SVM).