Hui Li, Linhai Jing, Changyong Dou, Haifeng Ding

A Comprehensive Assessment of the Pansharpening of the Nighttime Light Imagery of the Glimmer Imager of the Sustainable Development Science Satellite 1

  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences

The Sustainable Development Science Satellite 1 (SDGSAT-1) satellite, launched in November 2021, is dedicated to providing data detailing the “traces of human activities” for the implementation of the United Union’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and global scientific research. The glimmer imager (GI) that is equipped on SDGSAT-1 can provide nighttime light (NL) data with a 10 m panchromatic (PAN) band and red, green, and blue (RGB) bands of 40 m resolution, which can be used for a wide range of applications, such as in urban expansion, population studies of cities, and economics of cities, as well as nighttime aerosol thickness monitoring. The 10 m PAN band can be fused with the 40 m RGB bands to obtain a 10 m RGB NL image, which can be used to identify the intensity and type of night lights and the spatial distribution of road networks and to improve the monitoring accuracy of sustainable development goal (SDG) indicators related to city developments. Existing remote sensing image fusion algorithms are mainly developed for daytime optical remote sensing images. Compared with daytime optical remote sensing images, NL images are characterized by a large amount of dark (low-value) pixels and high background noises. To investigate whether daytime optical image fusion algorithms are suitable for the fusion of GI NL images and which image fusion algorithms are the best choice for GI images, this study conducted a comprehensive evaluation of thirteen state-of-the-art pansharpening algorithms in terms of quantitative indicators and visual inspection using four GI NL datasets. The results showed that PanNet, GLP_HPM, GSA, and HR outperformed the other methods and provided stable performances among the four datasets. Specifically, PanNet offered UIQI values ranging from 0.907 to 0.952 for the four datasets, whereas GSA, HR, and GLP_HPM provided UIQI values ranging from 0.770 to 0.856. The three methods based on convolutional neural networks achieved more robust and better visual effects than the methods using multiresolution analysis at the original scale. According to the experimental results, PanNet shows great potential in the fusion of SDGSAT-1 GI imagery due to its robust performance and relatively short training time. The quality metrics generated at the degraded scale were highly consistent with visual inspection, but those used at the original scale were inconsistent with visual inspection.

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