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19 October 2012 Fixed-quality/variable bit-rate on-board image compression for future CNES missions
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The huge improvements in resolution and dynamic range of current [1][2] and future CNES remote sensing missions (from 5m/2.5m in Spot5 to 70cm in Pleiades) illustrate the increasing need of efficient on-board image compressors. Many techniques have been considered by CNES during the last years in order to go beyond usual compression ratios: new image transforms or post-transforms [3][4], exceptional processing [5], selective compression [6]. However, even if significant improvements have been obtained, none of those techniques has ever contested an essential drawback in current on-board compression schemes: fixed-rate (or compression ratio). This classical assumption provides highly-predictable data volumes that simplify storage and transmission. But on the other hand, it demands to compress every image-segment (strip) of the scene within the same amount of data. Therefore, this fixed bit-rate is dimensioned on the worst case assessments to guarantee the quality requirements in all areas of the image. This is obviously not the most economical way of achieving the required image quality for every single segment. Thus, CNES has started a study to re-use existing compressors [7] in a Fixed-Quality/Variable bit-rate mode. The main idea is to compute a local complexity metric in order to assign the optimum bit-rate to comply with quality requirements. Consequently, complex areas are less compressed than simple ones, offering a better image quality for an equivalent global bit-rate. “Near-lossless bit-rate” of image segments has revealed as an efficient image complexity estimator. It links quality criteria and bit-rates through a single theoretical relationship. Compression parameters are thus automatically computed in accordance with the quality requirements. In addition, this complexity estimator could be implemented in a one-pass compression and truncation scheme.
© (2012) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Roberto Camarero, Xavier Delaunay, and Carole Thiebaut "Fixed-quality/variable bit-rate on-board image compression for future CNES missions", Proc. SPIE 8514, Satellite Data Compression, Communications, and Processing VIII, 851402 (19 October 2012);

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