A prealiminary study of ship detection from UAV images based on color space conversion and image segmentation

A. M. Klimkowska, I. Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Ship detection is an inherent process supporting tasks such as fishery management, ship search, marine traffic monitoring and control, and helps in the prevention of illegal activities. So far, sea and shore monitoring has been carried out by ship patrols and aircrafts along with sea vessel detection from data from space-borne platforms. Recently an increase interest in applying images delivered by UAV for marine application due to their advantages such as high spatial resolution, independence on time acquisition can be noticed. While investigating state of the art methods used for ship detection from different platforms using optical images, we found a significant problem with occurrence of a ship wake. This phenomena may prohibit correct detection of ship location and results in overestimating the ship size as the ship and its wake are often considered as being part of the same object in image or wakes are distinguished as a separate ship due to their possible similar brightness compared with sea vessel. In order to reduce the impact of ship wakes we investigated the behavior of images in different color spaces to provide data with little or almost no trace of ship wake. We took into consideration following color spaces: HSV, YCbCr, NTSC, XYZ and Lab and investigated each channel from new images. Finally we decided to use 2nd channel of Lab space where the ship wakes occurrence were significantly reduced. Object of interest were detected through the use of image segmentation. Applied method uses edge detection based on the gradient magnitude calculation. Afterwards several characteristics such as centroids, major and minor axis, size and orientation were calculated for later use to remove false positives and thus improve accuracy of the proposed method.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-193
Number of pages5
JournalInternational Archives of the Photogrammetry, Remote Sensing and Spatial Information Sciences - ISPRS Archives
Issue number2W6
StatePublished - 23 Aug 2017
Event4th ISPRS International Conference on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in Geomatics, UAV-g 2017 - Bonn, Germany
Duration: 4 Sep 20177 Sep 2017


  • Colour space
  • Edge detection
  • Marine surveillance
  • Remote sensing images
  • Ship detection
  • UAV


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