Cloud-Free Satellite Image Mosaics with Regression Trees and Histogram Matching

E.H. Helmer and B. Ruefenacht 2005. Cloud-Free Satellite Image Mosaics with Regression Trees and Histogram Matching.. Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing Vol. 71, No. 9, September 2005, :1079-1089.

Abstract: 
Cloud-free optical satellite imagery simplifies remote sensing, but land-cover phenology limits existing solutions to persistent cloudiness to compositing temporally resolute, spatially coarser imagery. Here, a new strategy for developing cloud-free imagery at finer resolution permits simple automatic change detection. The strategy uses regression trees to predict pixel values underneath clouds and cloud shadows in reference scenes from other scene dates. It then applies improved histogram matching to adjacent scenes. In the study area, the islands of Puerto Rico, Vieques, and Culebra, Landsat image mosaics resulting from this strategy permit accurate detection of land development with only spectral data and maximum likelihood classification. Between about 1991 and 2000, urban/built-up lands increased by 7.2 percent in Puerto Rico and 49 percent in Vieques and Culebra. The regression tree modeling and histogram matching require no manual interpretation. Consequently, they can support large volume processing to distribute cloud-free imagery for simple change detections with common classifiers.