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A Detailed Investigation into Low-Level Feature Detection in Spectrogram Images

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Publication details

JournalPattern recognition
DateE-pub ahead of print - 20 Feb 2011
DatePublished (current) - Sep 2011
Issue number9
Number of pages17
Pages (from-to)2076-2092
Early online date20/02/11
Original languageEnglish


Being the first stage of analysis within an image, low-level feature detection is a crucial step in the image analysis process and, as such, deserves suitable attention. This paper presents a systematic investigation into low-level feature detection in spectrogram images. The result of which is the identification of frequency tracks. Analysis of the literature identifies different strategies for accomplishing low-level feature detection. Nevertheless, the advantages and disadvantages of each are not explicitly investigated. Three model-based detection strategies are outlined, each extracting an increasing amount of information from the spectrogram, and, through ROC analysis, it is shown that at increasing levels of extraction the detection rates increase. Nevertheless, further investigation suggests that model-based detection has a limitation—it is not computationally feasible to fully evaluate the model of even a simple sinusoidal track. Therefore, alternative approaches, such as dimensionality reduction, are investigated to reduce the complex search space. It is shown that, if carefully selected, these techniques can approach the detection rates of model-based strategies that perform the same level of information extraction. The implementations used to derive the results presented within this paper are available online from

    Research areas

  • Spectrogram, Low-Level, Periodic Time Series, Remote Sensing, Line Detection, Feature Detection

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