Application of artificial neural networks to ship detection from X-band Kompsat-5 imagery

Jeong In Hwang, Sung Ho Chae, Daeseong Kim, Hyung Sup Jung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


For ship detection, X-band synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imagery provides very useful data, in that ship targets look much brighter than surrounding sea clutter due to the corner-reflection effect. However, there are many phenomena which bring out false detection in the SAR image, such as noise of background, ghost phenomena, side-lobe effects and so on. Therefore, when ship-detection algorithms are carried out, we should consider these effects andmitigate themto acquire a better result. In this paper, we propose an efficient method to detect ship targets from X-band Kompsat-5 SAR imagery using the artificial neural network (ANN). The method produces the ship-probability map using ANN, and then detects ships from the ship-probability map by using a threshold value. For the purpose of getting an improved ship detection, we strived to produce optimal input layers used for ANN. In order to reduce phenomena related to the false detections, the non-local (NL)-means filter and median filter were utilized. The NL-means filter effectively reduced noise on SAR imagery without smoothing edges of the objects, and the median filter was used to remove ship targets in SAR imagery. Through the filtering approaches, we generated two input layers from a Kompsat-5 SAR image, and created a ship-probability map via ANN from the two input layers. When the threshold value of 0.67 was imposed on the ship-probability map, the result of ship detection from the ship-probability map was a 93.9% recall, 98.7% precision and 6.1% false alarm rate. Therefore, the proposed method was successfully applied to the ship detection from the Kompsat-5 SAR image.

Original languageEnglish
Article number961
JournalApplied Sciences (Switzerland)
Issue number9
StatePublished - 20 Sep 2017


  • Artificial neural network (ANN)
  • Kompsat-5
  • Ship detection
  • Synthetic aperture radar (SAR)


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