Using Image Processing Methods to Improve the Detection of Buried Explosive Threats in GPR Data
Current state of the art techniques for landmine detection in ground penetrating radar (GPR) utilize statistical methods to identify characteristics of a landmine response. This research makes use of 2-D slices of data in which subsurface landmine responses have hyperbolic shapes. Various methods from the field of visual image processing are adapted to the 2-D GPR data, producing superior landmine detection results. This research goes on to develop a physics-based GPR augmentation method motivated by current advances in visual object detection. This GPR specific augmentation is used to mitigate issues caused by insufficient training sets. This work shows that augmentation improves detection performance under training conditions that are normally very difficult. Finally, this work introduces the use of convolutional neural networks as a method to learn feature extraction parameters. These learned convolutional features outperform hand-designed features in GPR detection tasks. This work presents a number of methods, both borrowed from and motivated by the substantial work in visual image processing. The methods developed and presented in this work show an improvement in overall detection performance and introduce a method to improve the robustness of statistical classification.
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