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Optical Engineering

Evaluation of the tactical utility of compressed imagery
Author(s): John M. Irvine; Barbara A. Eckstein; Robert A. Hummel; Richard J. Peters; Rhonda L. Ritzel
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Paper Abstract

The effects of compression on image utility are assessed based on manual exploitation performed by military imagery analysts (IAs). The original, uncompressed synthetic aperture radar imagery and compressed products are rated for the Radar National Imagery Interpretability Rating Scale (NIIRS), image features and sensor artifacts, and target detection and recognition. Images were compressed via standard JPEG compression, single-scale intelligent bandwidth compression (IBC), and wavelet/trellis-coded quantization (W/TCQ) at 50-to-1 and 100-to-1 ratios. We find that the utility of the compressed imagery differs only slightly from the uncompressed imagery, with the exception of the JPEG products. Otherwise, both the 50-to-1 and 100-to-1 compressed imagery appear similar in terms of image quality. Radar NIIRS indicates that even 100-to-1 compression using IBC or W/TCQ has minimal impact on imagery intelligence value. A slight loss in performance occurs for vehicle counting and identification tasks. These findings suggest that both single-scale IBC and W/TCQ compression techniques have matured to a point that they could provide value to the tactical user. Additional assessments may verify the practical limits of compression for synthetic aperture radar (SAR) data and address the transition to a field environment.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 June 2002
PDF: 11 pages
Opt. Eng. 41(6) doi: 10.1117/1.1475740
Published in: Optical Engineering Volume 41, Issue 6
Show Author Affiliations
John M. Irvine, Science Applications International Corp. (United States)
Barbara A. Eckstein, McClendon Automation (United States)
Robert A. Hummel, DARPA (United States)
Richard J. Peters, Science Applications International Corp. (United States)
Rhonda L. Ritzel, Science Applications International Corp. (United States)

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