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Screening Mississippi River Levees Using Texture-based and Polarimetric-based Features from Synthetic Aperture Radar Data

Dabbiru, L., Aanstoos, J.V., Ball, J. E., & Younan, N. H. (2017). Screening Mississippi River Levees Using Texture-based and Polarimetric-based Features from Synthetic Aperture Radar Data. Electronics. MDPI. 1, 20.


This article reviews the use of synthetic aperture radar remote sensing data for earthen levee mapping with emphasis on finding the slump slides on the levees. Earthen levees built on the natural levees parallel to the river channel are designed to protect large areas of populated and cultivated land in the Unites States from flooding. One of the signs of potential impending levee failure is the appearance of slump slides. On-site inspection of levees is expensive and time-consuming, therefore, a need to develop efficient techniques based on remote sensing technologies is mandatory to prevent failures under flood loading. Analysis of multi-polarized radar data is one of the viable tools for detecting the problem areas on the levees. In this study, we develop methods to detect anomalies on the levee, such as slump slides and give levee managers new tools to prioritize their tasks. This paper presents results of applying the NASA JPL’s Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Synthetic Aperture Radar (UAVSAR) quad-polarized L-band data to detect slump slides on earthen levees. The study area encompasses a portion of levees of the lower Mississippi river in the United States. In this paper, we investigate the performance of polarimetric and texture features for efficient levee classification. Texture features derived from the gray level co-occurrence matrix and discrete wavelet transform were computed and analyzed for efficient levee classification. The pixel-based polarimetric decomposition features, such as entropy, anisotropy, and scattering angle were also computed and applied to the support vector machine classifier to characterize the radar imagery and compared the results with texture-based classification. Our experimental results showed that inclusion of textural features derived from the SAR data using the discrete wavelet transform (DWT) features and gray level co-occurrence matrix (GLCM) features provided higher overall classification accuracies compared to the pixel-based polarimetric features.

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