Application Tips for ENVI 5 – Using the Image Registration Workflow

This is part of a series on tips for getting the most out of your geospatial applications. Check back regularly or follow HySpeed Computing to see the latest examples and demonstrations.

Objective: Utilize ENVI’s Image Registration Workflow to improve geo-location of an image by aligning it with a higher accuracy base image.

Scenario: This tip demonstrates the steps used to align a hyperspectral HICO image of the Florida Keys with a multispectral Landsat 7 image mosaic of the same area.

HICO - LANDSAT alignment

Data: This example utilizes a HICO image of the Florida Keys (H2011314130732.L1B_ISS) downloaded in ENVI format from the HICO website at Oregon State University. The same image is also available in HDF5 format from the NASA GSFC Ocean Color website (read this tip for an overview on opening HICO HDF5 files in ENVI).

HICO – Hyperspectral Imager for the Coastal Ocean – is an imaging spectrometer located on the International Space Station. HICO images are currently distributed with only rough geo-location information, and can be off by as much as 10 km. The Florida Keys HICO image used in this example has been geo-located using this coarse information (the HICO website provides a good summary of the steps used for this process).

Additionally, as the base image for the registration process, this example utilizes a Landsat 7 mosaic generated from two L1T Landsat images (LE70150422000036EDC00 and LE70150432000036EDC01) downloaded from USGS EarthExplorer. The L1T processing level “provides systematic radiometric and geometric accuracy by incorporating ground control points while employing a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) for topographic accuracy.” The two Landsat 7 scenes were mosaicked using ENVI’s Seamless Mosaic Tool.

The Tip: Below are steps used to implement the Image Registration Workflow for this example:

  • Open both the HICO image and Landsat 7 mosaic in ENVI, and start the ‘Image Registration Workflow’ found in the Toolbox under Geometric Correction > Registration.
  • In the opening dialog window select the Landsat 7 mosaic as the ‘Base Image File’, select the HICO image as the ‘Warp Image File’, and then click ‘Next’.
  • The next dialog window that appears is for ‘Tie Points Generation’. In some cases it is possible to automatically generate acceptable tie points utilizing the default values and without selecting any seed points. You can explore this process by simply selecting ‘Next’ at the bottom of the dialog and reviewing the resulting points that are generated. If the output isn’t acceptable, then just select ‘Back’ to revert back to the ‘Tie Points Generation’ dialog. For our example, this automated process produced just 5 tie points with an RMSE of 3.15. Furthermore, the generated tie points did not properly correspond to equivalent features in both images. We can do better.
  • Returning to the ‘Tie Points Generation’ dialog, under the ‘Main’ tab, we adjusted the ‘Matching Method’ to ‘[Cross Modality] Mutual Information’, changed the ‘Transform’ to ‘RST’, and left the other parameters set to their default values.

Tie points generation - main

  • Under the ‘Advanced’ tab we set the ‘Matching Band in Base Image’ to ‘Band 2 (0.5600)’, the ‘Matching Band in Warp Image’ to ‘Band 28 (0.5587)’, and left the default values for all other parameters.

Tie points generation - advanced

  • To add user-selected tie-points, select ‘Start Editing’ under the ‘Seed Tie Points’ tab. This displays the base image in the active view, and sets the cursor to the ‘Vector Create’ tool. To add a point, left-click in the desired location on the base image, and then right-click to select ‘Accept as Individual Points’. This brings up the warp image in the active view, where you use the same steps (left-click on location and right-click to accept) to select the equivalent location in the warp image. The process is then iterated between the base and warp images until you have selected the desired number of tie-points. If needed, you can switch the cursor to the pan or zoom tools, or turn layer visibility on/off, to better navigate the images for point selection.
  • Select ‘Stop Editing’ once you have added at least 3 tie-points (we added just 4 in our example). Note that you can always go back and delete or add points as needed until you are satisfied. You can even return to the tie-point selection step after reviewing results from the automatic tie-point generation process.
  • Now select ‘Next’ at the bottom of the ‘Tie Points Generation’ dialog to automatically generate tie-points based on these seed points. Once the point generation process is complete, the next dialog window that appears is for ‘Review and Warp’.
  • The total number of tie-points is listed under the ‘Tie Points’ tab in this dialog. In our example the process produced a total of 14 tie-points. Select ‘Show Table’ to view a list of the tie-points, including information on the error associated with each point, as well as the total RMSE calculated for all current points.

Tie points table

  • Before proceeding with the warp process, it is recommended that you visually inspect each tie-point to confirm it correctly identifies corresponding locations in both images. Individual points can be selected and visualized by first selecting the point’s row in the attribute table (accomplished as shown above by selecting the box to the left of the point’s ID number). Once selected, the active point is highlighted and centered in the base image, and you can then use the ‘Switch To Warp’ and ‘Switch To Base’ buttons in the ‘Tie Points’ tab to alternate between the two images.

Tie point review

  • If you see a point that isn’t correct, simply select the small red X at the bottom of the attribute table to delete the active point. In the Key Largo example, two points were associated with non-permanent features on the water surface and were thus appropriately discarded. This reduced the total number of points in the example to 12, and improved the overall RMSE to 0.86, which was deemed acceptable for this application.
  • While the deletion process isn’t directly reversible, if you inadvertently delete a point you can always close the table, go back to the ‘Tie Points Generation’ dialog and regenerate all tie-points.
  • Once you are satisfied with the tie-points, close the attribute table and select the ‘Warping’ tab in the main ‘Review and Warp’ dialog. This displays the parameter options for performing the final alignment of the warp image. In our example we set the ‘Warping Method’ to ‘RST’, ‘Resampling’ to ‘Nearest Neighbor’, and ‘Output Pixel Size From’ to ‘Warp Image’.

Tie points warp

  • The final warp processing is then initiated by selecting the ‘Next’ button at the bottom of the dialog. Once complete, all that remains is to select an ‘Output Filename’ and format for the warped image and an ‘Output Tie Point File’ for saving the tie-points.

It is important to note that the above parameter values were selected to work best for this example and for other HICO images; however, different values may be more appropriate for your particular application. For detailed descriptions of parameters and general instructions on running the Image Registration Workflow, as well as a hands-on tutorial, be sure to look at the documentation included with ENVI.

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