Quantitative methods to assess or predict the quality of a spectral image continue to be the subject of a number of current research activities. An accepted methodology would be highly desirable for use in data collection tasking or data archive searching in ways analogous to the current prediction of panchromatic image quality through the National Imagery Interpretation Rating Scale (NIIRS) using the General Image Quality Equation (GIQE). A number of approaches to the estimation of quality of a spectral image have been published, but most capture only the performance of automated algorithms applied to the spectral data. One recently introduced metric, however, the General Spectral Utility Metric (GSUM), provides for a framework to combine the performance from the spectral aspects together with the spatial aspects. In particular, this framework allows the metric to capture the utility of a spectral image resulting when the human analyst is included in the process. This is important since nearly all hyperspectral imagery analysis procedures include an analyst. To investigate the relationships between candidate spectral metrics and task performance from volunteer human analysts in conjunction with the automated results, simulated images are generated and processed in a blind test. The performance achieved by the analysts is then compared to predictions made from various spectral quality metrics to determine how well the metrics function. The task selected is one of finding a specific vehicle in a cluttered environment using a detection map produced from the hyperspectral image along with a panchromatic rendition of the image. Various combinations of spatial resolution, number of spectral bands, and signal-to-noise ratios are investigated as part of the effort.

Date of creation, presentation, or exhibit



Copyright 2006 Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic reproduction and distribution, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modification of the content of the paper are prohibited.

The authors would like to thank the volunteer analysts for their contributions to this effort.

Note: imported from RIT’s Digital Media Library running on DSpace to RIT Scholar Works in February 2014.

Document Type

Conference Paper

Department, Program, or Center

Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science (COS)


RIT – Main Campus