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Detection and morphological measurements of oil slicks in SAR images: an approach exploiting 'free software' libraries.

Flavio Parmiggiani(1), GianPaolo Marra(2), Miguel Moctezuma(3) and David Morales(3)

(1) CNR, via Gobetti 101, 40129 Bologna, Italy
(2) CNR, S.P. Lecce- Monteroni, 73100 Lecce, Italy
(3) UNAM, Ciudad Universitaria, Mexico City, Mexico


Following the indications of the classical paper by Zamperoni [1], it was decided to investigate the possibility to exploit the huge amount of Digital Image Processing (DIP) "free and open source software" (FOSS) available nowadays on several web sites, in order to detect and perform morphological measurements (area, perimeter, elongation, etc.) of oil slicks in SAR images. Among the different DIP libraries available on the web, our attention was captured by the Digital Image Processing Using MATLAB, or DIPUM, library [2], available at, and the DIPlib of the Delft University of Technology, available at The investigation was carried out using an ERS-2/SAR image, collected on June 9 2000 over the South Adriatic Sea (orbit: 26858 frame: 451) and showing the presence of a large oil slick. From the full SAR scene, a subset, 1000x1500 pixel size, covering large part of the slick, was extracted to become our test image. Before applying segmentation programs, the speckle noise was removed from the image by means of an adaptive filter [3]. Using FOSS applications, different segmentation and morphological measurement experiments were carried out. The results of this study will be presented and discussed, together with the comparison with the results obtained by software developed by our group [4].


[1] P. Zamperoni, "Plus ca va, moins ca va", Pattern Recognition Letters 17(7): 671-677, 1996. [2] R. Gonzalez, R. Woods and S. Eddins, "Digital Image Processing Using MATLAB (DIPUM)", Prentice Hall, 2004 [3] A. Baraldi and F. Parmiggiani, "A refined Gamma MAP SAR speckle filter with improved geometrical adaptivity", IEEE Trans. Geosci. Remote Sensing, vol. 33, No. 5, 1245-1257, 1995. [4] L. Lopez, M. Moctezuma and F. Parmiggiani, "Oil spill detection using GLCM and MRF", Proc. IGARSS 2005, Seoul, Korea, Vol. 3, 1781-1784, July 2005.


Keywords: ESA European Space Agency - Agence spatiale europeenne, observation de la terre, earth observation, satellite remote sensing, teledetection, geophysique, altimetrie, radar, chimique atmospherique, geophysics, altimetry, radar, atmospheric chemistry