The increasing number of airborne and satellite platforms that incorporate hyperspectral imaging spectrometers has soon created the need for efficient storage, transmission and data compression methodologies. In particular, hyperspectral data compression is expected to play a crucial role in many remote sensing applications. Many efforts have been devoted to designing and developing lossless and lossy algorithms for hyperspectral imagery. However, most available lossy compression approaches have largely overlooked the impact of mixed pixels and subpixel targets, which can be accurately modeled and uncovered by resorting to the wealth of spectral information provided by hyperspectral image data. In this paper, we
develop a simple lossy compression technique which relies on the concept of spectral unmixing, one of the most popular approaches to deal with mixed pixels and subpixel targets in hyperspectral analysis. The proposed method uses a two-stage approach in which the purest spectral signatures (also called endmembers) are first extracted from the input data, and then used to express mixed pixels as linear combinations of endmembers. Analytical and experimental results are presented in the context of a real application, using hyperspectral data collected by NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory over the World Trade Center area in New York City, right after the terrorist attacks of September 11th. These data are used in this work
to evaluate the impact of compression using different methods on spectral signature quality for accurate detection of hot spot fires. Two parallel implementations are developed for the proposed lossy compression algorithm: a multiprocessor implementation tested on Thunderhead, a massively parallel Beowulf cluster at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, and a hardware implementation developed on a Xilinx Virtex-II FPGA device. Combined, these parts offer a thoughtful
perspective on the potential and emerging challenges of incorporating parallel data compression techniques into realistic hyperspectral imaging problems.