Stable Mean-Shift Algorithm and Its Application to the Segmentation of Arbitrarily Large Remote Sensing Images

Segmentation of real-world remote sensing images is challenging because of the large size of those data, particularly for very high resolution imagery. However, a lot of high-level remote sensing methods rely on segmentation at some point and are therefore difficult to assess at full image scale, for real remote sensing applications. In this paper, we define a new property called stability of segmentation algorithms and demonstrate that piece- or tile-wise computation of a stable segmentation algorithm can be achieved with identical results with respect to processing the whole image at once.

We also derive a technique to empirically estimate the stability of a given segmentation algorithm and apply it to four different algorithms. Among those algorithms, the mean-shift algorithm is found to be quite unstable. We propose a modified version of this algorithm enforcing its stability and thus allowing for tile-wise computation with identical results. Finally, we present results of this method and discuss the various trends and applications.