Imagery collected from airborne platforms and satellites provide an important medium for remotely analyzing the content in a scene. In particular, the ability to detect a specific material within a scene is of high importance to both civilian and defense applications. This may include identifying "targets" such as vehicles, buildings, or boats. Sensors that process hyperspectral images provide the high-dimensional spectral information necessary to perform such analyses. However, for a d-dimensional hyperspectral image, it is typical for the data to inherently occupy an m-dimensional space, with m << d. In the remote sensing community, this has led to a recent increase in the use of manifold learning, which aims to characterize the embedded lower-dimensional, non-linear manifold upon which the hyperspectral data inherently lie. Classic hyperspectral data models include statistical, linear subspace, and linear mixture models, but these can place restrictive assumptions on the distribution of the data; this is particularly true when implementing traditional target detection approaches, and the limitations of these models are well-documented. With manifold learning based approaches, the only assumption is that the data reside on an underlying manifold that can be discretely modeled by a graph. The research presented here focuses on the use of graph theory and manifold learning in hyperspectral imagery. Early work explored various graph-building techniques with application to the background model of the Topological Anomaly Detection (TAD) algorithm, which is a graph theory based approach to anomaly detection. This led towards a focus on target detection, and in the development of a specific graph-based model of the data and subsequent dimensionality reduction using manifold learning. An adaptive graph is built on the data, and then used to implement an adaptive version of locally linear embedding (LLE). We artificially induce a target manifold and incorporate it into the adaptive LLE transformation; the artificial target manifold helps to guide the separation of the target data from the background data in the new, lower-dimensional manifold coordinates. Then, target detection is performed in the manifold space.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Remote-sensing images--Data processing; Machine learning; Multispectral imaging

Publication Date


Document Type


Student Type


Degree Name

Imaging Science (Ph.D.)

Department, Program, or Center

Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science (COS)


David Messinger

Advisor/Committee Member

Nathan Cahill

Advisor/Committee Member

Charles Bachmann


Physical copy available from RIT's Wallace Library at G70.4 .Z54 2015


RIT – Main Campus

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