Image compression effects in visual analysis

A. Zabala*, X. Pons, F. Aulí-Llinàs, Joan Serra-Sagristà

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


This study deals with the effects of lossy image compression in the visual analysis of remotely sensed images. The experiments consider two factors with interaction: the type of landscape and the degree of lossy compression. Three landscapes and two areas for each landscape (with different homogeneity) have been selected. For every of the six study area, color 1:5000 orthoimages have been submitted to a JPEG2000 lossy compression algorithm at five different compression ratios. The image of every area and compression ratio has been submitted to on-screen photographic interpretation, generating 30 polygon layers. Maps obtained using compressed images with a high compression ratio present high structural differences regarding to maps obtained with the original images. On the other hand, the compression of 20% obtains values only slightly different from those of the original photographic interpretation, but these differences seem owed to the subjectivity of the photographic interpretation. Therefore, this compression ratio seems to be the optimum since it implies an important reduction of the image size without determining changes neither in the topological variables of the generated vector nor in the obtained thematic quality.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • Image compression
  • JPEG2000
  • Photointerpretation
  • Visual analysis

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