Feature Set for Classification of Man-Made Underwater Objects in Optical and SAS Data

A. Abu, R. Diamant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper proposes a feature characterization method that can discriminate between man-made and natural objects on the seabed using a pair of SAS and optical images. Feature matching methods, like scale-invariant feature transform (SIFT), usually utilize gradient information to detect feature points, whereas contour-based features often use geometrical descriptors such as roughness, circularity, and solidity. However, due to the different characteristics of sonar and optical imagery, current descriptors cannot be directly applied over sonar-optical image pairs. The clarity of the water (muddy water, concentration of particles that scatter light) for optical images, and the stability of the platform, and reflections from seabed for SAS images are important parameters that distort the two images and make it hard to match between the two image sources. This paper proposes a feature characterization method that can identify man-made objects in underwater optic-SAS image pairs. Two new contour-based feature descriptors are introduced. The first is the entropy angle feature, which aims to reflect the entropy of the angles that originate from points on the contour. The second feature is local curve fitting, which characterizes the radial-polar space of the local curve polynomial fitting. The descriptors are designed to characterize man-made objects whose contour is expected to be smoother than natural objects such as rocks. Experimental results on a real, large dataset comprised of 1,519 optic-SAS image pairs, are shown to verify that the proposed method has a high level of classification accuracy and good discrimination between man-made and natural objects.

Original languageEnglish
JournalIEEE Sensors Journal
StateAccepted/In press - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:


  • Adaptive optics
  • contour-based features
  • Feature extraction
  • Feature extraction
  • Fourier descriptor
  • optical detection
  • Optical distortion
  • Optical imaging
  • Optical reflection
  • Optical sensors
  • region-based features
  • self-similarity
  • shape descriptors
  • sonar detection
  • Synthetic aperture sonar

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Instrumentation
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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