Image interpretation and image classification are two fundamental processes in remote sensing that involve the analysis and extraction of information from remote sensing imagery. While both techniques aim to extract meaningful information from the images, they differ in their approaches and objectives.
The following table outlines the main differences between image interpretation and image classification in remote sensing:
|Feature||Image Interpretation||Image Classification|
|Definition||Involves visually examining the image and extracting information by human interpretation and analysis of visual features, patterns, and context.||Involves the automated or semi-automated process of assigning predefined classes or categories to image pixels based on their spectral properties and statistical analysis.|
|Approach||Relies on the experience and expertise of the interpreter to visually examine the image and interpret its features and patterns based on prior knowledge and context.||Utilizes computational algorithms and statistical techniques to analyze the spectral properties and statistical patterns of image pixels and assign them to predefined classes or categories.|
|Objective||Aims to understand and extract information from the image by identifying and interpreting various features, objects, and patterns in the scene.||Aims to classify the image pixels into predefined classes or categories based on their spectral characteristics, enabling automated mapping and analysis of land cover or other target classes.|
|Subjectivity||Involves a subjective component as the interpretation heavily relies on the experience, expertise, and knowledge of the interpreter, which may introduce some level of interpretation bias.||Generally considered more objective as it relies on predefined rules, algorithms, and statistical analyses, minimizing the influence of personal biases or subjectivity.|
|Level of Detail||Allows for a more detailed and nuanced analysis of the image, as human interpreters can consider contextual information, image texture, and other visual cues beyond spectral information.||Primarily focuses on the spectral properties of image pixels, allowing for consistent and quantitative analysis across large areas but may lack the nuanced interpretation of visual cues.|
|Automation||Mostly performed manually by human interpreters, requiring visual examination and subjective decision-making based on their knowledge and expertise.||Can be fully automated or semi-automated using computational algorithms and statistical methods, reducing the need for manual intervention and enabling analysis at larger scales.|
|Application||Useful for complex and detailed analysis tasks that require human expertise, such as identifying specific land cover features, mapping changes, or detecting anomalies.||Beneficial for large-scale mapping and monitoring tasks that require consistent and repeatable analysis, such as land cover classification, vegetation mapping, or land use change detection.|
Conclusion: Image interpretation and image classification are two key processes in remote sensing for extracting information from remote sensing imagery. Image interpretation involves visually examining the image and extracting information through human interpretation, relying on the experience and expertise of the interpreter. On the other hand, image classification employs computational algorithms to assign predefined classes to image pixels based on their spectral properties and statistical analysis.
Image interpretation allows for a detailed and nuanced analysis, considering visual cues, context, and texture beyond spectral information. It is subjective and dependent on the interpreter’s expertise. Image classification, on the other hand, offers a more objective and automated approach, focusing primarily on spectral properties and enabling consistent analysis over large areas.
The choice between image interpretation and image classification depends on the specific objectives of the analysis, the level of detail required, and the available resources. Image interpretation is suitable for complex and detailed analysis tasks that benefit from human expertise, while image classification is advantageous for large-scale mapping and monitoring tasks that require consistent and automated analysis.