Multi-temporal and multi-source remote sensing image classification by nonlinear relative normalization

Devis Tuia*, Diego Marcos, Gustau Camps-Valls

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Remote sensing image classification exploiting multiple sensors is a very challenging problem: data from different modalities are affected by spectral distortions and mis-alignments of all kinds, and this hampers re-using models built for one image to be used successfully in other scenes. In order to adapt and transfer models across image acquisitions, one must be able to cope with datasets that are not co-registered, acquired under different illumination and atmospheric conditions, by different sensors, and with scarce ground references. Traditionally, methods based on histogram matching have been used. However, they fail when densities have very different shapes or when there is no corresponding band to be matched between the images. An alternative builds upon manifold alignment. Manifold alignment performs a multidimensional relative normalization of the data prior to product generation that can cope with data of different dimensionality (e.g. different number of bands) and possibly unpaired examples. Aligning data distributions is an appealing strategy, since it allows to provide data spaces that are more similar to each other, regardless of the subsequent use of the transformed data. In this paper, we study a methodology that aligns data from different domains in a nonlinear way through kernelization. We introduce the Kernel Manifold Alignment (KEMA) method, which provides a flexible and discriminative projection map, exploits only a few labeled samples (or semantic ties) in each domain, and reduces to solving a generalized eigenvalue problem. We successfully test KEMA in multi-temporal and multi-source very high resolution classification tasks, as well as on the task of making a model invariant to shadowing for hyperspectral imaging.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
Number of pages12
JournalISPRS Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2016


  • Classification
  • Domain adaptation
  • Feature extraction
  • Graph-based methods
  • Hyperspectral imaging
  • Kernel methods
  • Manifold learning
  • Very high resolution

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