Improving the matching reliability of multi-sensor imagery is one of the most challenging issues in recent years, particularly for synthetic aperture radar (SAR) and optical images. It is difficult to deal with the noise influence, geometric distortions, and nonlinear radiometric difference between SAR and optical images. In this paper, a method for SAR and optical images matching is proposed. First, interest points that are robust to speckle noise in SAR images are detected by improving the original phase-congruency-based detector. Second, feature descriptors are constructed for all interest points by combining a new Gaussian-Gamma-shaped bi-windows-based gradient operator and the histogram of oriented gradient pattern. Third, descriptor similarity and geometrical relationship are combined to constrain the matching processing. Finally, an approach based on global and local constraints is proposed to eliminate outliers. In the experiments, SAR images including COSMO-Skymed, RADARSAT-2, TerraSAR-X and HJ-1C images, and optical images including ZY-3 and Google Earth images are used to evaluate the performance of the proposed method. The experimental results demonstrate that the proposed method provides significant improvements in the number of correct matches and matching precision compared with the state-of-the-art SIFT-like methods. Near 1 pixel registration accuracy is obtained based on the matching results of the proposed method.
image matching; SAR image; optical image; phase congruency; Gaussian-Gamma-shaped bi-windows; geometric constraint
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