International Journal of
Physical Sciences

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Phys. Sci.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1992-1950
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJPS
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 2570

Full Length Research Paper

Discrimination between oil spill and look-alike using fractal dimension algorithm from RADARSAT-1 SAR and AIRSAR/POLSAR data

Maged Marghany* and Mazlan Hashim
  Institute of Geospatial Science and Technology (INSTeG), UniversitiTeknologi Malaysia 81310 UTM, Skudai, Johore Bahru, Malaysia.  
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 14 March 2011
  •  Published: 04 April 2011



This work utilizes a modification of the formula of the fractal box counting dimension in which a convoluted line of slick embedded in SAR data was divided into small boxes. The method is based on the utilization of the probability distribution formula in the fractal box count. The purpose of this method is to use it for the discrimination of oil spill areas from the surrounding features, for example, sea surface and look-alikes in SAR data, that is, RADARSAT-1 SAR S2 mode and AIRSAR/POLSAR data. The results show that the modified formula of the fractal box counting dimension can discriminate between oil spills and look-alike areas. The low wind area has the highest fractal dimension peak of 2.9, as compared to the oil slick and the surrounding rough sea. Further, modified formula of fractal box counting dimension is also able to detect look-alikes and low wind zone areas in AIRSAR/POLSAR data. It is interesting to find out that oil spill is absent in AIRSAR/POLSAR data. Both SAR data have a maximum error standard deviation of 0.45, which performs with fractal dimension value of 2.9. In conclusion, modification formula of fractal box counting dimension is a promising technique for oil spill and look-alikes automatic discrimination in different sensor of SAR data.


Key words: Oil spill, look-alikes, fractal dimension, RADARSAT-1 SAR, AIRSAR/POLSAR.