Over the last two decades, I - a senior research scientist and technical authority with the Canadian Space Agency - have led and carried out research and development of advanced space technology in collaboration with my colleagues at the agency and other government departments, my postdoctoral visiting fellows, internship students, and engineers in the Canadian space industry. We developed and patented a variety of novel signal processing methodologies and technologies for optical satellites. I was frequently invited by professors at universities (mostly in Canada) to give lectures to students; as a former professor myself, I’ve always enjoyed interacting with students and attempting to answer their questions. I was deeply touched by their eagerness and passion for acquiring knowledge and solving problems. In the modern days, email is a powerful communication means: I often received emails from students around the world asking me to respond to their inquiries about my published works and to supply them with reference documents for their graduate work.
Although I have published over a hundred papers and currently hold nine U.S. patents, three European patents, and several pending patents in the subjects of optical satellite signal processing and enhancement, I have not previously organized these works into a book. This text is my attempt to provide an end-to-end treatment of optical satellite signal processing and enhancement based on my 30 years of firsthand experience and research. It serves as an introduction for readers who are willing to learn the basics and the evolution of signal processing for optical satellites, and a guide for those working on the satellite image processing, data distribution, and the manipulation and deployment of satellite communications systems. The writing style provides clear and precise descriptions for advanced researchers and expert practitioners as well as for beginners. The structure of the chapters adopts a layout similar to journal papers, opening with a brief introduction on the subject matter, then reviewing previous approaches and their shortcomings, next presenting the recent techniques with improved performance, and finally reporting experimental results for assessing their effectiveness and providing conclusions.
Readers need not begin at the first page of the book and perform a sequential reading, but it is advisable to read Chapters 1 to 3 first; they cover the basics of spaceborne optical sensors, satellite data generation, and image quality metrics for assessing satellite images. Chapters 4-8, 19, and 20 constitute a separate part devoted to the topic of onboard satellite data compression. Chapters 9 to 12 constitute another part devoted to the subsequent processes of the data communication and calibration after the onboard compression has occurred, namely the transmission from the satellite to the ground, and then the calibration to remove the artifacts of the instrument. Chapters 13-18 constitute the third part, devoted to image enhancement and exploitation. Data is now available on the ground, and specialists are expected to derive qualitative application products. Processes for improving the quality of the available data and techniques to employ such data are presented. Instead of designing and building novel expensive payloads, cheaper signal processing algorithms are applied to reduce noise and increase the signal-to-noise ratio, spatial resolution, and other data characteristics.
There are many people I would like to thank for their contributions to the works included in this book. I would like to thank the Canadian Space Agency, where I have been working for the last 20 years; my colleagues Allan Hollinger, Martin Bergeron, Michael Maszkiewicz, Davinder Manak, and Ian Cunningham for their participation in data compression projects; the postdoctoral visiting fellows who I supervised, including Guangyi Chen, Reza Rashidi-Far, Hisham Othman, Pirouz Zarrinkhat, Charles Serele, and Riadh Ksantini for their contributions to denoising, enhancing spatial resolution, dimensionality reduction, spectral unmixing, target detection, and data compression; and over 40 internship students who have each left their mark in contribution. I would like to thank Robert Neville (retired), Karl Staenz (now with University of Lethbridge), and Lixin Sun at the Canada Centre for Remote Sensing for allowing me to include their work on keystone and smile detection and their correction in this book, and for collaboration on the Canadian hyperspectral program; Josée Lévesque and Jean-Pierre Ardouin at the Defence Research and Development Canada for their collaboration on assessment of data compression impact, target detection, and enhancement of spatial resolution.
I thank David Goodenough at the Pacific Forestry Centre; John Miller and Baoxin Hu at York University, for providing data sets and for actively collaborating on hyperspectral applications and the data compression user acceptability study; the participants in the user acceptability study: Andrew Dyk at the Pacific Forestry Centre, Jing Chen at University of Toronto, Harold Zwick, Dan Williams, Chris Nadeau, and Gordon Jolly at MacDonald Dettwiler Associates, and Benoit Rivard and Jilu Feng at the University of Alberta. I thank Luc Gagnon, William Harvey, Bob Barrette, and Colin Black at MacDonald Dettwiler Associates for the development and fabrication of the onboard compressor prototypes, and Melanie Dutkiewicz and Herbal Tsang for the development of hyperspectral image browser. I thank Valec Szwarc and Mario Caron at the Communication Research Centre (Canada) for their discussion on enhancement of the resilience to bit-errors of the compression techniques; and Peter Oswald and Ron Buckingham for discussion of onboard data compression. I also would like to thank Penshu Yeh at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Aaron Kiely at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Carole Thiebaut and Gilles Moury at the French Space Agency (CNES), and Raffaele Vitulli at the European Space Agency for the collaboration within the CCSDS in developing international spacecraft data standards and for their contributions to the CCSDS work included in this book. I would also like to thank the three anonymous reviewers for their tireless work and strong endorsement of this book, their careful and meticulous chapter-by-chapter review on behalf of SPIE Press, and their detailed comments leading to the improvement and final results of the book in its current form. Many thanks as well to Tim Lamkins, Scott McNeill, and Dara Burrows at SPIE Press for turning my manuscript into this book.
Finally, this book would not have been possible without the help and support of my wife Nancy and daughter Cynthia, who provided great encouragement and assistance during the many hours of my spare time after work when I was preparing, typing, and editing this book. I owe great thanks to them for their patience and love.
Senior Scientist, Canadian Space Agency