Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Computer Science

First Advisor

S. Sitharama Iyengar


This dissertation deals with detecting and tracking dynamic features in image sequences using digital image analysis algorithms. The tracking problem is complicated in oceanographic images due to the dynamic nature of the features. Specifically, the features of interest move, change size and shape. In the first part of the dissertation, the design and development of a new segmentation algorithm, Histogram-based Morphological Edge Detector (HMED), is presented. Mathematical morphology has been used in the past to develop efficient and robust edge detectors. But these morphological edge detectors do not extract weak gradient edge pixels, and they introduce spurious edge pixels. The primary reason for this is due to the fact that the morphological operations are defined in the domain of a pixel's neighborhood. HMED defines new operations, namely H-dilation and H-erosion, which are defined in the domain of the histogram of the pixel's neighborhood. The motivation for incorporating the histogram into the dilation and erosion is primarily due to the rich information content in the histogram compared to the one available in the pixel's neighborhood. As a result, HMED extracts weak gradient pixels while suppressing the spurious edge pixels. An extensive comparison of all morphological edge detectors in the context of oceanographic digital images is also presented. In the second part of the dissertation, a new augmented region and edge segmentation technique for the interpretation of oceanographic features present in the AVHRR image is presented. The augmented technique uses a topography-based method that extracts topolographical labels such as concave, convex and flat pixels from the image. In this technique, first a bicubic polynomial is fitted to a pixel and its neighborhood, and topolographical label is assigned based on the first and second directional derivatives of the polynomial surface. Second, these labeled pixels are grouped and assembled into edges and regions. The augmented technique blends the edge and region information on a proximity based criterion to detect the features. A number of experimental results are also provided to show the significant improvement in tracking the features using the augmented technique over other previously designed techniques.