Adaptive thresholding algorithm based on SAR images and wind data to segment oil spills along the northwest coast of the Iberian Peninsula

David Mera, José M Cotos, José Varela-Pet, Oscar Garcia-Pineda
Marine Pollution Bulletin 2012, 64 (10): 2090-6
Satellite Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) has been established as a useful tool for detecting hydrocarbon spillage on the ocean's surface. Several surveillance applications have been developed based on this technology. Environmental variables such as wind speed should be taken into account for better SAR image segmentation. This paper presents an adaptive thresholding algorithm for detecting oil spills based on SAR data and a wind field estimation as well as its implementation as a part of a functional prototype. The algorithm was adapted to an important shipping route off the Galician coast (northwest Iberian Peninsula) and was developed on the basis of confirmed oil spills. Image testing revealed 99.93% pixel labelling accuracy. By taking advantage of multi-core processor architecture, the prototype was optimized to get a nearly 30% improvement in processing time.

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